Boaters rescue diver after hour-long search off La Jolla

Photo by Ed Cabo
Photo by Ed Cabo

City News Service

A man scuba-diving off a charter boat in the ocean near La Jolla went missing Monday, prompting a sea and air search that ended about an hour later when the occupants of a private vessel found him paddling in the swells, unharmed.

The 55-year-old man was reported overdue in returning to the commercial

vessel following a group dive shortly after 1:30 p.m., roughly 90 minutes after

he entered the ocean, San Diego lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum said.

Lifeguard divers searched the waters around the charter craft, which was anchored about a mile west of Bird Rock, and the U.S. Coast Guard sent a boat and a helicopter crew to aid in the search.

Authorities got word about 2:40 p.m. that the man, whose name was not released, had been picked up by civilian boaters and was in good health, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

It was unclear how the diver got separated from his companions and the

charter boat.

On Sunday, the federal maritime agency called off a search for a 54-year-

old swimmer who disappeared in the same general area.

James Repetto of Massachusetts went missing Saturday afternoon after setting out by himself on a swim from Scripps Pier to La Jolla Shores and back.

A 20-hour search by sea, air and land turned up no sign of Repetto, and

the Coast Guard suspended the effort in the mid-afternoon Sunday.

At the time of his disappearance, Repetto was awaiting sentencing in his home state in connection with a kickback scheme that defrauded a fruit-juice company and netted him and a co-defendant about $1.3 million, according to federal prosecutors.

   
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