- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Five divers have died off the Southern California coast since lobster season began last weekend and all the deaths happened at night, authorities said.

Four of the five deaths are known to have occurred during dives for lobster, which are commonly nocturnal, the Orange County Register reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1r90CNE ).

A man who disappeared Monday evening near Catalina Island became the fifth local fatality on Thursday when his body was recovered in 100 feet of water.

“These things are preventable,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Adam Eggers said. “Accidents happen when divers are not medically fit, when they dive too many times in one day, when they dive by themselves.”

The first death occurred Sept. 27, just hours after the season opened. A boat captain called for medical assistance when a man surfaced complaining of health issues near Catalina. The man died en route to a hospital, Eggers said.

Less-experienced divers may not be prepared for the added risks of night-diving, said Debbie Karimoto, who runs the online forum and news site OCdiving.com. She told the newspaper that more accidents typically occur when a new season starts and divers rush to get in the water.

The lobster-hunting season runs through March 18. State law allows for an individual to possess seven lobsters at a time.

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Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

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