A San Francisco man who disappeared Sunday morning while abalone diving with friends in Elk Harbor on the Mendocino County coast was found dead in a cave this morning, a Mendocino County sheriff’s lieutenant said.
The identity of the missing diver was confirmed by family members as 44-year-old Feng Chang Wei, sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney said.
Feng’s body was found around 9 a.m. by two divers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Barney said.
The cause of death was not obvious and is pending an autopsy and toxicology tests, Barney said. Feng and his friends entered the water in the 5400 block of South Highway 1 in Elk on Sunday morning, sheriff’s Sgt. Dustin Lorenzo said.
The strong current and ocean conditions began to push the group toward a sea cave along the bluff and several of the men clung to rocks to avoid being pulled into the cave, Lorenzo said. Feng was struck by a wave and pushed into the cave, where he became distressed. His friends tried to rescue him but were overtaken by strong waves and were forced to swim away to save their lives, Lorenzo said.
It was still unsafe to enter the water Monday, but the search by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Elk Volunteer Fire Department, Mendocino County Fire Department and the sheriff’s office’s search and rescue team continued today around 8:15 a.m. in more favorable ocean conditions.
James Lanaras, Bay City News