A man diving off the northern Mendocino Coast on Friday became the fourth abalone hunter to die on the North Coast this year.

Neither the man's name nor cause of his death was available Friday.

He was in the water diving for abalone at Russian Gulch State Park, two miles north of the town of Mendocino, when a friend acting as lookout on a floating tube lost sight of him, said Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department Chief Danny Hervilla.

A call for help was made just before 10 a.m., and rescuers were on scene almost immediately, he said. Crews from several agencies searched from land, by boat and by helicopter.

The man's body was located about 3:30 p.m. in about 40 feet of water near where the diver was last seen, Hervilla said.

He said the man, who he estimated was in his 30s, reportedly was in good condition, but Hervilla did not know whether he was an experienced diver.

The man is from outside the area, he said.

The weather and waves were relatively mild Friday, Hervilla said. "I have no idea what happened," he said.

The death is the second abalone-related death this month on the North Coast and fourth this year. Last year, seven people died.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@