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Abalone Divers Rescued After Close Call On Sonoma Coast

Don McCullough / Flickr
 

Don McCullough / Flickr

(AP) - Lifeguards rescued four people from choppy waters and rip tides in Northern California this weekend.

The Press Democrat reports that State Parks lifeguard Nate Buck says at least two of four divers rescued on Sonoma Coast were hunting abalone.

Hunting season for the red abalone began Friday. A prized mollusk with buttery meat, the creature draws hundreds of people to the coast each year. They search for the shells equipped with wetsuits, weighted belts, a pry bar and little else.

Last year, at least eight abalone divers died off the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts.

Buck says the most experienced abalone hunters wait for calm days and cancel their plans if the water looks menacing. He recommends that people avoid diving if they can see breaking waves.