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Abalone diver drowns at Salt Point State Park

An abalone diver drowned Saturday morning off the Sonoma County coast at Salt Point State Park, a Sonoma County Coroner's detective said.

Gerard Accristo, 61, of Redwood City was pulled from the water by state parks lifeguards. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:45 a.m.

The rescue call came in to the Cal Fire station at The Sea Ranch at 11:07 a.m.

A Cal Fire engineer said Accristo was pulled to shore by lifeguards at Gerstle Cove, south of Woodside Campground in Salt Point State Park, a popular destination for abalone divers.

State park rangers, Sonoma County park officials, sheriff's deputies and firefighters from Timber Cove and the Cal Fire Sea Ranch station were dispatched to the scene. Henry 1, the sheriff's office helicopter and a Reach medical helicopter also responded.

The death is being investigated by the sheriff's office.

It is the fifth abalone diving-related death on the North Coast this year.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.


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