2nd Abalone Diver Dies On Sonoma Coast In As Many Days

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — A Santa Rosa man Friday morning became the second abalone diver in two days to die while harvesting the mollusks on the Sonoma Coast, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The Sonoma County coroner’s office identified him as 44-year-old Jeffrey Facendini.

Facendini was diving at the north end of Fisk Mill Cove in the Fort Ross State Historic Park area when his diving partner found him face down in the water around 10:15 a.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Thompson said.

The diving partner pulled Facendini from the water and attempted CPR for 20 minutes before he flagged down a state parks seasonal employee who was driving on state Highway 1, Thompson said.

State parks lifeguards found Facendini on the rocks along the surf line 50 feet below a cliff, Thompson said.

The Timber Cover Fire Protection District, the sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Sonoma Coast, and a sheriff’s Henry-1 helicopter also responded, Thompson said.

The helicopter crew used a long line to bring the stricken diver to the top of the cliff, where emergency medical technicians continued life-saving efforts. Facendini was pronounced dead at 10:47 a.m., Thompson said.

Thompson said it would have taken four or five people a half-hour to carry Facendini a quarter-mile up the bluff to highway 1.

Thursday morning, Jason Chak Yin Cheung, 42, of South San Francisco, died of suspected cardiac arrest after he collapsed in chest-high water south of Pedotti Ranch in the Fort Ross State Historic Park area.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • Serena

    I knew Jeff, he was a great man, husband, father, and friend. I’m going to miss him so much. It still hasn’t hit that he is gone. I know meny more people who go abalone diving and so please everyone out ab diving please be safe and keep an eye on your fellow ab diving partners.

  • Robert

    I’m an ab diver. I know the risk and voluntarily take it. I rather die drowning than being hit by a car.

  • Tina

    Jeff was an avid sportsman. He had great respect for the ocean and all of nature. He would rather walk away from a chance for abs or any other game if it involved risk or danger, to him or others.
    He and his partner were in 3 – 4 feet of water picking abs; not diving. They were within feet of each other and only a few minutes had passed when his partner found him face up. He showed not signs of trauma. Something happen? Jeff’s father, Dino taught him to respect nature. I have hunted and fished with Jeff for many years. He taught me so much. In addition, was always explaining the ‘why’ of things to me. He was a very giving man and was always there to pitch in.
    We will all miss this great man: friend, husband, father, and uncle.

  • Sam Facendini

    Jeff was my husband. He was the safest man I know. He never took unnecessary chances, espcecially with the ocean. However he also understood the risks. He would have preferred going out like this than being killed in an even more senseless drunk driving accident. He was an amazing man and will be greatly missed by so many people.

  • Jennifer Chervenka

    Sam, Nikki & Colby: You three have been in my thoughts from the moment I learned of Jeff’s death. Words cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am for the pain you are feeling. Jeff was a good man. I have loved your family for years and we will continue to send you strength. Taylor and I are here for you in any way.

  • Tina

    Apparently, you are not a ‘sportsman’ that feeds his family natural food. To bad, your ancestors did or your family would have died out!

  • Dripable

    Awesome article…

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