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Man dies while lobster fishing off Catalina

October 3, 2009 |  7:36 pm

An amateur fisherman participating in the opening weekend of spiny lobster season drowned off the coast of Santa Catalina Island early Saturday morning, authorities said.

The man was night-diving with a charter boat group in 30-foot-deep water when he floated to the surface, unconscious, shortly after 4 a.m., said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Tyler Stutin.

Authorities rushed him to Catalina's USC Hyperbaric Chamber but he was declared dead a short time later. The Los Angeles County Coroner identified him as Jesus Marti, a Long Beach resident in his early 30s.

Stutin said the Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department would investigate the death.

At the time of the accident, hundreds of novice fisherman were swarming the waters three miles off the western coast of the island searching for the lobster. Many of them were inexperienced and struggled under bad weather and gale force winds.

"We are running into a lot of problems. The weather is picking up," Stutin said.

-- Garrett Therolf

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