MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A diver who went missing in the ocean near the Manhattan Beach Pier was found dead Monday.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s dive team found the body of Jeff Tolly, 45, about 11 a.m. inside an underwater power plant intake and outflow pipe near El Segundo, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra Kay Kneen.
Spencer Parker, spokesman for the L.A. County Lifeguard Division, said the pipe is about 10-feet wide with a grate on the entrance.
But he said most of the time, divers will still try to get inside the pipe even with the grate because it’s known as a place to find lots of lobsters.
“There’s a history of divers going into certain structures or this intake pipe. It’s extremely dangerous. You know diving in a confined space is always going to be super dangerous,” Parker said. “If you had some type of emergency, you couldn’t just ascend up to the surface.”
The Coast Guard received a call at 11 a.m. Sunday from Tolly’s friend, who reported him missing after he went diving about three miles north of the pier, Kneen said.
According to Tolly’s friend, he went diving by himself. Parker said solo diving is also risky. “Plan your dive. Dive your plan and always use the buddy system,” Parker added.
Unfortunately, this is not the first lobster-hunting-related deadly accident this year. Last month, a Ventura mother died when the boat she was on with her husband and two young children capsized. They were also looking for lobsters.
Divers like Carlos Frometa have heard about these accidents and others. He said he was keeping the risks in mind as he planned his next trip.
“Last week was a couple of boats that crashed into the brick wall here in Marina del Rey. They were catching lobsters,” Frometa said. “It’s kind of risky stuff.”