A San Francisco man drowned Sunday when he slipped off a rock and went under water for about 15 minutes while returning from a fishing outing with friends at Salt Point State Park on the Sonoma Coast.
The Sonoma County coroner’s office identified the victim as 57-year-old Jung Chao Yu. An autopsy this morning is pending toxicology tests.
Jeremy Stinson, a supervising ranger with the California State Parks department, said Yu and four friends from San Francisco had been fishing since 9:30 a.m. on the rocks at Gerstle Cove in the south end of the park.
They were returning to the parking lot at about 7:15 p.m. when Yu fell into the ocean and disappeared under water for about 15 minutes before resurfacing on a rock, Stinson said.
One of Yu’s friends drove to a state parks maintenance shop at the nearby Woodside Campground, where a maintenance employee radioed the state parks dispatch center at about 7:30 p.m., Stinson said.
A number of agencies responded, including a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy, the Timber Cove Fire Department, state parks rangers and lifeguards.
The California Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard also dispatched helicopters, but fog prevented them from reaching the area, Stinson said.
The rocks are about 100 yards from a bluff, and the incoming tide created a 6-foot-wide channel that washed over the rocks. This made it difficult to retrieve Yu’s body, which was visible but inaccessible, Stinson said.
Rescuers were able to jump across the channel between waves and secure Yu’s body with a rope at about 10 p.m., Stinson said.
A Coast Guard boat illuminated the area with flairs, and the Timber Cove Fire Department set up portable lighting, Stinson said.
Yu was pronounced dead at the scene, Stinson said.