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Local man dies in diving accident

August 31, 2009

A Costa Mesa man died after an attempted cliff dive went wrong Saturday in Arizona.

John Kissel, 43, was cliff diving in a cove called Copper Canyon when he missed the water after jumping from a 200-foot point, said Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff.

“According to bystanders, he was attempting to jump off one of the points,” Miller said.

Emergency responders were called to the scene, where they pronounced Kissel dead at 4:37 p.m, Miller said.

The point was one of the higher diving spots in Copper Canyon. The area is known for cliff diving, bringing out diving enthusiasts who consider themselves experts to kids and amateurs, Miller said. The recreational sport is legal, but signs warn potential divers about the dangers.

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“It’s an unfortunate accident. It is an area well known for diving,” Miller said. “People do it all the time.”

— Britney Barnes


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