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Autopsy scheduled for diver who dies off Shores

An autopsy was tentatively scheduled today for a Poway man who died when he ran out of air on his first certified dive.

John Sonsteng, 45, died around 9 a.m. Saturday off La Jolla Shores while scuba diving with his 19-year-old son, according to San Diego lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh.

Sonsteng ran out of air and was attempting to re-surface while sharing his son’s tank when the younger diver’s tank also ran out of air and he suddenly ascended with force, leaving his father behind, Greenhalgh said.

The elder Sonsteng’s body was found by a remote-control underwater vehicle after a five-hour search by divers, a helicopter and boaters.

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Sonsteng’s son was hospitalized as a precaution because of his rapid ascent, Greenhalgh said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office tentatively scheduled an autopsy on the elder Sonsteng’s body for today.

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Sunday

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Scuba accident victim identified

The man who died off La Jolla Shores when he ran out of air on his first certified dive, despite a desperate attempt by his son to save him, was identified today as a 45-year-old Poway resident.

John Sonsteng is also survived by his wife.

The father and son were diving at a depth of 155 feet around 9 a.m. Saturday off La Jolla Shores when he ran out of air, said San Diego lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh.

His 19-year-old son attempted to surface with his father while sharing his tank, but the younger diver ran out of air at a depth of 40 feet, forcing him to ascend immediately, Greenhalgh said.

The elder Sonsteng’s body was found by a remote-control underwater vehicle after a five-hour search by divers, a helicopter and boaters.

Sonsteng’s son was hospitalized as a precaution because of his rapid ascent, Greenhalgh said.

Saturday

Shores: Scuba diver in distress may have drowned

A 19-year-old scuba diver tried to share his air tank with his father as the two men executed an emergency surface from 150 feet of water Saturday, but the 40-year-old man did not surface and may have drowned, lifeguards said.
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Lt. John Greenhalgh said lifeguards spotted a scuba diver in distress at about 9 a.m. from the La Jolla Shores lifeguard station. Rescuers paddled out to the scuba diver and brought him to shore.

The diver told rescuers his father, who is in his 40s, ran out of air as the man dived to 150 feet below the surface, and the two shared the son’s air in a rapid ascent, Greenhalgh said.

The lieutenant said the son ran out of air at a depth of 40 feet and the two became separated.

Twelve divers from the San Diego Lifeguards dive team immediately went to search the area, and two divers went to the depth of 150 feet, Greenhalgh said.

The lieutenant said the divers found nothing and another four divers descended in a search that circled the area, but could not find the man.

San Diego fire’s helicopter also searched the area, and two engines and medical units were sent to the beach.

The Coast Guard has also sent sonar equipment to assist in the search, and the San Diego Lake Ranger divers have brought in an underwater vehicle with a camera to search for the man, according to Greenhalgh.

The lieutenant said twelve other lifeguards from various parts of San Diego County plan to expand the search, which is set to end by 5 p.m. today.

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Greenhalgh said the 19-year-old diver taken to UCSD for treatment of a rapid ascent as a precaution, but the man was not showing any medical problems.


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