Commercial diver dies after Port Angeles accident; benefit concert planned to aid his family
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Rescue workers and Coast Guard personnel race to the Dawn Breaker, left, as it arrives at the boat ramp on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles to assist Samuel Silverstein, the victim of a diving accident last week. — Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A benefit concert is planned in June for a Bremerton diver who died Sunday after he was pulled from the waters off Green Point east of Port Angeles and airlifted to Seattle last week.

Samuel Silverstein, 24, died Sunday at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

Silverstein's death has been ruled an accident, a representative of the King County Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday, and was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, in Seattle is investigating Silverstein's death since it occurred while he was doing his job, said Jose Carnevali, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA.

“It was a workplace fatality, and we do have jurisdiction over the matter,” Carnevali said, adding that the investigation could take from a few weeks to six months to complete.

The benefit concert, with all proceeds set to go to Silverstein's family, has been planned for 6 p.m. June 14 at the Vera Project, an all-ages music venue in Seattle, according to a Facebook post for the event.

Silverstein's geoduck diving partner, Robert Mead, found the 24-year-old unconscious in about 50 feet of water off Green Point on April 29 at about 9 a.m., according to the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

The pair were diving off Mead's 40-foot commercial fishing vessel Gold Rush, which had two deckhands aboard.

The Sheriff's Office said Silverstein had come to the surface after reporting problems underwater and removed his still-functioning air mask so he could speak with the Gold Rush crew.

Silverstein told crew members he was going back underwater because he was tangled in the line feeding him air from the boat, went back down and then resurfaced, the Sheriff's Office said.

While Gold Rush crew members were radioing for help from the nearby state Department of Natural Resources fishing compliance boat Dawn Breaker, Silverstein disappeared under the water and was found unconscious by Mead, the Sheriff's Office said.

Silverstein was taken on board the Dawn Breaker, where CPR was started on him while the boat headed west to Ediz Hook in Port Angeles Harbor to be met by a waiting Port Angeles Fire Department ambulance.

Paramedics took Silverstein to Olympic Medical Center, from where he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the Sheriff's Office said.

Silverstein was transferred that afternoon to Virginia Mason Medical Center, a Harborview spokesperson had said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 07. 2014 11:36PM
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