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UPDATED: Diving accident proves fatal for local man

People on the boat were able to pull the man from the water and begin CPR while transporting him. They and the aid crews on shore were ultimately unable to resuscitate the man.

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Bellingham EMS and Whatcom Fire District aid units were dispatched to Gooseberry Point Wednesday around 4:30pm after it had been reported a diver was being transported there by boat after a diving accident.

According to Bellingham Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hewett, they were told a male in his 40s was being transported to the Fishermans Cove area. The man had been diving for sea urchins between Lummi Island and Sucia Island when his air supply became cut off due to an accident.

People on the boat were able to pull the man from the water and begin CPR while transporting him. They and the aid crews on shore were ultimately unable to resuscitate the man.

According to US Coast Guard Petty Officer Amanda Norcross, a Coast Guard vessel was launched from Station Bellingham to respond, but ended up not being involved.

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Whatcom Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel said an autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning. the cause of death was asphyxiation by salt water drowning and confirmed the death was an accident after the surface air hose was severed. Goldfogel pointed out the unsafe dive operation with disregard to emergency procedures and backup air supply were contributing factors.

The victim’s name has yet to be released. Dr Goldfogel identified the victim as Hank W Hoskins, age 40.

Lummi Nation Police Department Chief Ralph Long said that due to there being an ongoing investigation around the man’s death, further details were not currently unavailable. “It is a tragic event and our prayers are with the family as they carry on their work,” Long said in an email.


This story was updated 10/28/16 10:15am with the medical examiner’s findings and the victims identity.

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