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La Jolla drowning corpses pile up

Southern California shore diving harder than it seems

In the videos Zach posts he warns divers when the waters within the Cove are rough. - Image by Bryan Zach
In the videos Zach posts he warns divers when the waters within the Cove are rough.

Yearly, in California, over 400 people die from drowning, and more than 1,200 are involved in non-fatal drowning incidents that need first responders' assessments or hospitalization — according to a July report on the San Diego County website.

The 2022-2023 drowning numbers within our county have yet to be divulged, but as of late, they are skewing towards La Jolla.    

At about 9:35 am on November 11, lifeguards watching over La Jolla Cove noticed someone yelling for assistance just north of Boomer Beach, said Monica Muñoz, a city of San Diego spokeswoman, in a La Jolla Light interview.

“Lifeguards responded and found a scuba diver who reported that their dive partner was last seen about 50 feet down with their regulator out of their mouth." The lifeguards then called for assistance; an ambulance, a rescue helicopter, and the fire department were immediately dispatched. Muñoz continued, "The dispatcher requested members of the dive team .... [then after 10:30 am] the patient was about 50 feet under. Lifeguards pulled the patient up and started CPR." The patient was transported to the hospital, but additional details were unavailable.

The recent Saturday morning drowning was the fourth reported drowning at La Jolla Cove this year alone.

Brian Zach, owner of Zach’s Scuba Shack, has years of experience providing scuba and snorkel tours throughout San Diego County — including the Cove.

"Southern California diving requires more effort than a lot of divers may realize," he said to me in a recent interview. "It is in colder water [which requires] more equipment and is heavier. There’s lower visibility, surge, and challenging conditions often."

On Zach's Facebook account, he posted many photos and videos of the Cove, a small, touristy beach nestled between sandstone cliffs in La Jolla. In the videos he posts he warns divers when the waters within the cove are rough.

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On top of that, to access the Cove, divers must find parking in the busy tourist area and then trek a distance before descending a long flight of stairs leading into the waters.

"Southern California shore diving is by nature a physically strenuous activity," Zach added.

"Calling off a dive is sometimes the best way to be a good diver,"


The La Jolla Light reported a September 3 drowning at the Cove of another diver found not breathing. He was pronounced dead. In July, lifeguards found a diver in the same area who was unconscious with “no pulse"; in May, first responders rescued a former La Jolla dweller  who died three days after.

When I asked Zach if he could explain why four divers drowned at the Cove this year alone, he responded, "I wouldn’t know the divers' medical history or any information regarding the incidents."

He then advised, "Consider being physically evaluated if you haven’t been diving regularly or have any underlying medical conditions."  

Most diving experts I spoke with suggest that if you are a beginner, you should find someone with more experience and who knows the area like Zach and dive with them. Lastly, "calling off a dive is sometimes the best way to be a good diver," Zach said.

On the morning of October 21, at La Jolla Shores, about 2.5 miles east of The Cove, surfers and a paddleboarder saw a 65-year-old male floating past the breaking waves, reported 911 VIDEO NEWS. "The man was brought to shore, where CPR started, but he was already deceased," reads the caption attached to the posted video in part. "The man had been in the water for some time. He wore swim trunks and had swimming goggles on his head. It’s unknown how he passed away."

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In the videos Zach posts he warns divers when the waters within the Cove are rough. - Image by Bryan Zach
In the videos Zach posts he warns divers when the waters within the Cove are rough.

Yearly, in California, over 400 people die from drowning, and more than 1,200 are involved in non-fatal drowning incidents that need first responders' assessments or hospitalization — according to a July report on the San Diego County website.

The 2022-2023 drowning numbers within our county have yet to be divulged, but as of late, they are skewing towards La Jolla.    

At about 9:35 am on November 11, lifeguards watching over La Jolla Cove noticed someone yelling for assistance just north of Boomer Beach, said Monica Muñoz, a city of San Diego spokeswoman, in a La Jolla Light interview.

“Lifeguards responded and found a scuba diver who reported that their dive partner was last seen about 50 feet down with their regulator out of their mouth." The lifeguards then called for assistance; an ambulance, a rescue helicopter, and the fire department were immediately dispatched. Muñoz continued, "The dispatcher requested members of the dive team .... [then after 10:30 am] the patient was about 50 feet under. Lifeguards pulled the patient up and started CPR." The patient was transported to the hospital, but additional details were unavailable.

The recent Saturday morning drowning was the fourth reported drowning at La Jolla Cove this year alone.

Brian Zach, owner of Zach’s Scuba Shack, has years of experience providing scuba and snorkel tours throughout San Diego County — including the Cove.

"Southern California diving requires more effort than a lot of divers may realize," he said to me in a recent interview. "It is in colder water [which requires] more equipment and is heavier. There’s lower visibility, surge, and challenging conditions often."

On Zach's Facebook account, he posted many photos and videos of the Cove, a small, touristy beach nestled between sandstone cliffs in La Jolla. In the videos he posts he warns divers when the waters within the cove are rough.

Sponsored
Sponsored

On top of that, to access the Cove, divers must find parking in the busy tourist area and then trek a distance before descending a long flight of stairs leading into the waters.

"Southern California shore diving is by nature a physically strenuous activity," Zach added.

"Calling off a dive is sometimes the best way to be a good diver,"


The La Jolla Light reported a September 3 drowning at the Cove of another diver found not breathing. He was pronounced dead. In July, lifeguards found a diver in the same area who was unconscious with “no pulse"; in May, first responders rescued a former La Jolla dweller  who died three days after.

When I asked Zach if he could explain why four divers drowned at the Cove this year alone, he responded, "I wouldn’t know the divers' medical history or any information regarding the incidents."

He then advised, "Consider being physically evaluated if you haven’t been diving regularly or have any underlying medical conditions."  

Most diving experts I spoke with suggest that if you are a beginner, you should find someone with more experience and who knows the area like Zach and dive with them. Lastly, "calling off a dive is sometimes the best way to be a good diver," Zach said.

On the morning of October 21, at La Jolla Shores, about 2.5 miles east of The Cove, surfers and a paddleboarder saw a 65-year-old male floating past the breaking waves, reported 911 VIDEO NEWS. "The man was brought to shore, where CPR started, but he was already deceased," reads the caption attached to the posted video in part. "The man had been in the water for some time. He wore swim trunks and had swimming goggles on his head. It’s unknown how he passed away."

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