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Diver’s Death Remains a Mystery

The death of a 51-year-old diver, who was unresponsive when pulled from the ocean at a popular dive spot in Laguna Beach, remains under investigation, according to the county coroner.

An autopsy was performed on the body of Mark Gibbs, of Tustin, but no ruling was made on the cause of death pending the outcome of toxicology results and a check of equipment, said supervising Deputy Coroner Mitchell Sigal.

Gibbs was among a group of four people in a dive class organized by Irvine’s Dive & Photo, marine safety Lt. Kai Bond said on Monday. Though divers usually submerge in pairs, when the group resurfaced in the popular dive spot last Friday, April 19, after a 35-minute dive, “unfortunately they lost one,” Bond said.

The group consisted of two instructors, Gibbs and his wife, police Capt. Jason Kravetz said.

The surfacing divers shouted from the water and citizens onshore called authorities about a missing diver at 11:21 a.m., police said.

Lifeguards entered the water by 11:40 a.m., according to the police log. The three-man Laguna lifeguard dive team located Gibbs by 12:40 p.m. on the ocean floor at the north end of Shaw’s Cove and stripped him of 20 pounds of diving weights to bring him to the surface, said Bond, who described water conditions as fairly calm. The water temperature was 58 degrees with a south current, noted the police log. The diver’s air tank, which generally holds 35 to 40 minutes of air, was empty, he said.

Emergency personnel performed CPR on Gibbs, who was in cardiac arrest and was pulled aboard a Newport Beach lifeguard boat, Bond said. He was transported to Newport Harbor and from there was transferred to an awaiting ambulance and Hoag hospital, a police statement said.

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