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Police: Man harvesting geoducks dies in diving accident

March 4, 2021 GMT

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — A Port Angeles diver died Wednesday after his air umbilical cord apparently became entangled while he was geoduck harvesting, authorities said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Anthony Gockerell, 35, was pronounced dead Wednesday morning at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

Peninsula Communications received a 911 call about a commercial diver in distress at about 8:30 a.m., Sgt. John Keegan said in a news release.

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Crew members said Gockerell signaled to his crew that his surface-supplied air umbilical cord was “unable to clear.” The crew interpreted that as his cord was entangled in debris, Keegan said.

Gockerell’s crewmates and officers with the state Department of Natural Resources, who were supervising the geoduck harvesting, pulled Gockerell free after a struggle and brought him aboard the commercial fishing boat, Keegan said.

CPR was performed as the boat took Gockerell from the Dungeness West geoduck tract, which is about 6.5 miles (10 kilometers) east of the Coast Guard Station on Ediz Hook, to the Port Angeles Marina. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and the Clallam County Coroner’s Office plans an autopsy.