Bremerton geoduck diver critically hurt in accident off Green Point
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Rescue workers and Coast Guard personnel race to the Dawn Breaker, left, to assist the victim of a diving accident on Tuesday as the boat arrives at the boat ramp on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

SEATTLE — A commercial geoduck diver from Bremerton was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon after a diving accident in the water off Green Point that morning.

Sam Silverstein, 23, was taken by boat from the dive location to Ediz Hook in Port Angeles and then transported by ambulance to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles before being airlifted to the Seattle hospital, said Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

Silverstein was in the intensive care unit at Harborview, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Tuesday.

“[There's] nothing suspicious at all,” Moores said.

“It was just a tragic accident.”

Moores said Silverstein was diving for geoducks in about 60 feet of water with fellow diver Robert Mead, 44, at about 8:10 a.m.

The two were working from a 40-foot commercial fishing vessel, Gold Rush, owned by Mead's company, Further Diving Co. of Olympia, Moores said.

The two divers were getting air through 300-foot hoses connected to a compressor on the boat.

Moores said the boat's two deckhands heard Silverstein radio from below that he had a problem and was coming to the surface.

Silverstein came up and motioned to the deckhands to get him, Moores said, adding that Silverstein's air mask was turned off.

He said that Silverstein told crew members he was going back underwater because he was tangled, went back down, then resurfaced.

The Gold Rush was too far away from Silverstein to quickly retrieve him, Moores said, so a deckhand radioed the Dawn Breaker, a nearby Department of Natural Resources compliance boat, to pick up Silverstein.

Silverstein disappeared under the water again in the time it took the deckhand to make the call, Moores said.

Moores said it's unclear at this time what caused Silverstein to go under.

He said it possibly could have been a combination of getting tangled in the air hose and the strong currents in the area.

Mead swam to his partner and retrieved him from near the sea bottom, Moores said.

“[Silverstein] was unconscious when Mead found him just above the bottom,” Moores said.

Richard James and Kurt Heikkila of the Dawn Breaker helped the two divers onboard and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Silverstein, Moores said.

The boat headed east and docked at a small pier just west of the Puget Sound Pilots Station on Ediz Hook, where Silverstein was loaded into a waiting ambulance, Moores said.

Green Point is just west of Dungeness Spit near the mouth of Siebert Creek.

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

Last modified: April 29. 2014 7:57PM
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