Man dies after diving accident off Sucia Island

The State

A Whatcom County man was pronounced dead Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Gooseberry Point after a scuba diving accident near Sucia Island.

The diver’s oxygen supply was cut off due to an apparent equipment malfunction around 4 p.m., said Bill Hewett, assistant chief for the Bellingham Fire Department.

Others on board pulled the unconscious man, 40, onto the boat and performed CPR, said Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Bellingham. The boaters called for help, reporting the man had been underwater for about five minutes.

They rushed the diver about 10 miles east of Sucia to Fisherman’s Cove, where they were met by the responding fire crews and Coast Guard. He could not be revived.

Out of respect for the man’s family, a Lummi high school football game and other tribal events were postponed. He was identified as a father of one Blackhawks football player and the uncle of about 10 others, according to Lummi coach and athletic director Jim Sandusky.

Authorities had not confirmed the man’s name as of Thursday afternoon. An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday.

Sucia, one of the San Juan Islands, is a marine park popular with boaters and divers.

The Bellingham Herald reporter Caleb Hutton contributed to this report.

Vanessa Thomas: 360-715-2289, @vaney_t13.

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