Scuba Diver Finds Body in Underwater Cave, Believed to Be Diver That Disappeared in 2020

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

A scuba diver in Southern California had a shocking experience last week discovering the body of another diver in an underwater cave. While it’s not yet been confirmed, officials believe the body might be that of a diver that disappeared in 2020.

According to CBS News, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office worked with divers from several other agencies to recover the diver’s body on Saturday. The unknown individual’s remains were recovered a week after two recreational divers came across a “possible” body near the ocean floor in a Santa Cruz Island cave system.

After recovering the scuba diver’s body from the underwater cave, the sheriff’s office said the location of the remains corresponds with that of a diver that disappeared two Novembers ago.

Per the news outlet, authorities suspect that the recovered body belongs to 34-year-old recreational diver Ryder Sturt. Sturt, a resident of Port Hueneme, went diving for lobster with a partner on November 29th, 2020. However, after diving beneath the surface during their excursion, Sturt never resurfaced.

The report from 2020 states Sturt’s diving partner reached out to emergency personnel for help, with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal responding to the distress call. The Coast Guard worked alongside a team aboard the sheriff’s office helicopter and other dive teams after Sturt disappeared. Together, they scoured the area around Santa Cruz Island, but found no trace of Sturt’s body.

Coroners plan to use rapid DNA testing to confirm the identity of the body. The Sheriff’s Office said tests could be complete as early as next week. Hopefully, after two years of uncertainty, the scuba diver’s friends and family can finally see closure.

Scuba Divers Uncover Ancient Mammoth Bones

As unbelievable as it sounds, we know more about what lies on the surface of Mars, which—even as one of Earth’s closest neighbors is still some tens of millions of miles away—than we do about what lies on the ocean floor. That’s likely why it’s taken authorities so long to have (potentially) located the missing scuba diver, Ryder Sturt. However, our planet’s bodies of water are home to a diverse collection of relics as well. Last year, a team of Florida scuba divers came across an unlikely find, uncovering an ancient mammoth bone.

Photos of the bone show the fossil blackened though still in pretty solid condition. Experts believe the bone, discovered by divers Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler, could date as far back as the Ice Age 100,000 years ago. The bone is also impressive in size, weighing a hefty 50 pounds.

Reflecting on their underwater discovery, Demeter said at the time, “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial. It was really neat to see that be discovered.”