UPDATE: Diver’s body found off Seacrest

11:33 AM: Seattle Fire has just dispatched another water-rescue response to Seacrest. This time the dispatch was “possible diver having a problem, could be related to (the situation) from last night.” We are headed there to find out more.

(Added: WSB photo)

11:39 AM: The dispatcher has told rescuers that divers reported seeing a person in 35′ of water, 100′ offshore. (We hadn’t received word of recovery of last night’s victim since SPD took over late last night.)

11:53 AM: So far it does appear to be a recovery – the person found by divers is described as showing “no signs of life” and they’re calling for the Medical Examiner.

Also a traffic note: If you’re driving down California Way, you can’t turn right onto Harbor because of the response vehicles on Harbor on the east side of Seacrest. (Our crew has just confirmed this.)

12:08 PM: After bringing the person’s body out of the water, SFD is downsizing the response. They’ve dispatched a public-information officer so we hope to have official word before too long on whether this is indeed believed to be the person who went missing last night – there’ve been no additional reports today of anyone missing or in trouble.

12:29 PM: We’ve talked with SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley at Seacrest. She says it’s up to the Medical Examiner to say for sure whether it’s the same person who went missing last night, the description is the same – a woman in her 30s. And we’ve confirmed with an SPD sergeant at the scene that SPD did not recover a body last night after taking over last night’s recovery operation. (Added: Here’s video of Tinsley explaining the responses last night and today:)

NOTE: Our archives show this was the first diver death in the area since August 2016, when another student diver died.

ADDED: The diver who died has been identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office as 33-year-old Yuyu Xu.

24 Replies to "UPDATE: Diver's body found off Seacrest"

  • lamont August 1, 2021 (11:46 am)

    The “diver having problem” sorta worries me since the risk with this kind of a situation is that other divers come across the body and attempt to recover it and wind up in their own trouble due to that being a lot of hard work.

    (hopefully that is just miscommunictaion with someone on shore who called it in)

    • WSB August 1, 2021 (11:52 am)

      So far it sounds unfortunately like a person with “no signs of life” and other divers are there as well as now SFD rescue divers. This continues to be from radio, awaiting word of our crew’s arrival.

  • Fern August 1, 2021 (12:33 pm)

    I saw a group of divers pulling the body toward the shore (in a wetsuit with blue detail at the wrist and an arm sticking straight, appearing lifeless) and once on the stretcher and out of the water emergency crew placed white sheets over it. They were really good about protecting the deceased’s privacy. No visible commotion on shore but a couple of the divers seemed to get consolation from other emergency crew helping them on the land. I wonder if the person who found it was part of the diver circle of friends intentionally looking? Either way what a ghastly way to encounter someone. Life is precious. 

  • Jon Tang August 1, 2021 (12:39 pm)

    Why was the search called off and made a recovery mission so quickly last night? An hour after the initial distress call comes in is not that long to be in the water, especially a diver with proper gear. 

    • EricL August 1, 2021 (1:16 pm)

      An hour in the water is very close to being out of air with standard equipment.  And if half an hour beyound that depending on the equipment and profile definitely out of air.  Once the maximum air time is expended, unless the diver is on the surface it’s effectively recovery whatever they call it. And I’d be surprised if they called off anytime close to before then.  Practically getting a search started within an hour of entering the water would be a very good case (time to notice the issue, get to shore to call, dispatch a response, figure out where to search, get in the water, etc)

    • Midi August 1, 2021 (1:48 pm)

      Likely two factors – knowledge of the amount of air likely left in the tank and increased danger given it was dark. As a scuba diver myself, sending my condolences to the family of the deceased and best wishes to the dive group. Tragic all around.

    • Daniel Rhodes August 1, 2021 (1:52 pm)

      I was on scene last night. Overheard the crew discussing the missing diver had roughly 23 mins left of oxygen in the tank around 9:35pm, they were searching at 10pm

      • WSB August 1, 2021 (2:04 pm)

        The SFD PIO (we will add video once it’s uploaded) said today that SPD continued searching until midnight.

        • Liz August 1, 2021 (2:56 pm)

          I live right across the street. Was closer to 10 pm – 1am  efforts 

    • lamont August 1, 2021 (3:23 pm)

      A recreational diver with a single Al80 will generally have 60 minutes
      of bottom time, stretches to 90 minutes or so if they’re shallow and
      very comfortable as a diver with a low consumption rate (given a student
      in a course that probably doesn’t apply though).

      Given that they had to start the dive, the separation event had to occur, the instructor had to notice the missing diver, then they had to surface and leave the water and activate EMS, and it would be natural to wait 5 or 10 minutes before activating EMS, that really cuts into all the time available and doesn’t leave much.

      Since SPD searched until 1am at that point even with technical gear or a rebreather they should have been out of gas or out of scrubber with anything resembling a typical configuration.

      Really by the time they get divers in the water it would be pretty lucky to achieve a rescue.

  • HS August 1, 2021 (2:15 pm)

    Thank you to those that brought her in. And for search and rescue. Both hard jobs. My condolences to family and friends.

    • Liz August 1, 2021 (2:57 pm)

      Kiss to heaven❤️

  • Jake August 1, 2021 (2:21 pm)

    I have the impression that 3-4 divers have died in West Seattle in the last 5 years or so. Does anyone know for sure, and do an unusually high number of scuba divers perish there? I don’t know, but those waters seem extra perilous for some reason. 

    • WSB August 1, 2021 (2:44 pm)

      No. As reported in our story, the most-recent death was five years ago. The most-recent one before that was 4 1/2 years revious, So this would be three in 10 years. – TR

    • lamont August 1, 2021 (3:31 pm)

      It is actually the reverse more or less. That site is the easiest site to dive in the area since it has essentially zero current.  So what you see are more training accidents or accidents with inexperienced divers.

      • Frog August 2, 2021 (9:04 am)

        On the other hand, training in Puget Sound is much harder than in a nice warm tropical place.  Cold water, low visibility, maybe using a dry suit with extra-heavy weight belt — much more to go wrong.  Training and diving here is definitely riskier than in the sunny Caribbean.

        • bolo August 2, 2021 (4:20 pm)

          Trading the sound’s cold(er) water for sharks and barracudas is a good tradeoff?

  • Trickycoolj August 1, 2021 (4:17 pm)

    I saw the parents post on reddit last night, it’s so heart breaking.  Condolences to the family and the diving community.

    • K to the F August 1, 2021 (8:24 pm)

      Do you have a link? Would like to give them my condolences. :( Thx

  • WSB August 1, 2021 (4:22 pm)

    Added above: Video of SFD’s Kristin Tinsley at the scene today, summarizing both responses.

  • R2 August 2, 2021 (7:00 pm)

    As a diver, myself, I have so many questions. How did they get separated from their dive buddy? Did they not have glow sticks? Were they somehow snagged, or otherwise stuck on the bottom? How many people were in the group diving that night? First and foremost, I am deeply saddened. My heart goes out to all who were on the dive, and all who care for this person. Deepest condolences.

    • WSB August 2, 2021 (8:04 pm)

      If you listen to the briefing by the SFD PIO, she had a few additional details, including the answer to one of your questions – 2 instructors with 7 students.

  • Np August 3, 2021 (7:14 pm)

    There were 6 students, and 2 instructors; she worked for Google and was based in California. They did not have glow sticks, they had tank lights, and flashlights; they were briefed extensively before diving; this was the third dive that day;  the group surfaced when they realized she was missing (the instructors had the students make a mid-dive ascent to surface).  We do not know what happened, we might never know, perhaps the medical examiner will reveal more.  Sad for all.  

    • DD August 3, 2021 (9:10 pm)

      Thank you for sharing that info. I was on the water taxi. We were stopped a few hundred yards from the  dock and drifted in the area for 30-45 minutes I think.  I had checked the blog as soon as I walked up and saw all the emergency lights arriving across the bay so I was aware a diver was missing. There weren’t many passengers onboard but a couple of us joined a crew member on the bow with an emergency light desperately scanning the water for any sign or sound. As the minutes ticked by … it was just gut wrenching. My condolences to her family and friends. 

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