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Pleasanton abalone diver dies off Mendocino Coast

The body of a missing abalone diver from Pleasanton was recovered off the Mendocino Coast near Little River over the weekend.

He’s at least the seventh person to die while abalone hunting off the North Coast this year.

Yoshihiro Ohhashi, 57, had been reported missing shortly after noon Friday by his diving partner, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday. The partner had become ill from the rough ocean at Cobbler’s Point and climbed out of the water, sheriff’s officials said. In doing so, he lost sight of his friend. The partner climbed to the top of a bluff to view the ocean and saw only his friend’s overturned flotation device.

He ran to Van Damme State Park and contacted emergency services, sheriff’s officials said.

Rescue teams from the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, state parks, and the Sheriff’s Office conducted a search. It was called off at dark and resumed Saturday. It concluded that day when the missing man’s body was located by the fire department’s divers in about 15 feet of water near where he’d last been seen, sheriff’s officials said.

The cause of his death has not been determined, sheriff’s officials said.

Ohhashi had several years of experience diving for abalone, including in the area where he died, said Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten. His friend had been diving just once before, he said.

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