The man who died Sunday while diving to salvage a boat at Nacimiento Lake has been identified as 30-year-old Patrick Donald King, according to Sheriff’s Department officials.
King of Lockwood, near Lake San Antonio, and his diving partner, 18-year-old Daniel Burgess of Paso Robles, may have become tangled in lines used in the operation, according to sheriff’s spokesman Rob Bryn.
The men had permission to retrieve a private boat that had sunk at the Bee Rock Cove area as part of their work for Forever Resorts, which handles marina operations such as boat rentals at the lake, company spokeswoman Darla Cook said.
Burgess was flown to UCLA Medical Center and released Monday afternoon after receiving treatment, according to family members.
County sheriff-coroner investigators continue to examine diving equipment and conditions that led to King’s death. It appears that a tether that linked King and Burgess became tangled in another line between the salvage boat and the sunken vessel, Bryn said in a news release.
“King ran low on air and was attempting to ‘buddy breathe’ with Burgess when there may have been an equipment failure that caused Burgess to jettison his dive gear and begin to surface from below 60 feet,” the release stated.
Bryn defined the term buddy breathing as the two men sharing one oxygen tank.
Burgess was able to surface and call for help; King later surfaced unconscious and was given CPR before paramedics declared him dead at the scene, according to sheriff’s officials. King’s autopsy is scheduled for today.
Burgess was treated in a hyperbaric chamber for ascending too quickly from deep water, according to his mother, Karen Burgess.
Cook said the group of employees at the marina is close, and counselors were brought in to help staff deal with King’s death.
“He was a valued team employee here,” Cook said. “He was very well-liked.”
Cook said some of King’s family members worked for the company as well, and she asked for privacy from media interviews as they dealt with his death.