Coast Guard

Man Sentenced to Four Years in Drowning Death of Diving Partner

Craig Lightner provided faulty equipment and failed to teach the victim how to use it before the death off Catalina Island

A man who provided unsafe equipment and failed to train his scuba diving partner prior to a dive off the coast of Catalina Island last year was sentenced to four years in state prison Monday.

Craig Lightner, 50, of San Pedro, pleaded guilty in July to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Mark Rascon.

The two men were visiting the island to capture Blue-banded Goby fish, which is illegal, when kelp likely became entangled in Rascon’s breathing apparatus. Instead of helping him, Lightner called the Coast Guard to report a missing diver, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rascon was found dead in 80 feet of water. He drowned as a result of an embolism.

Lightner, who supplied the air hoses and breathing regulators the two men used on the dive, was arrested two months later.

Lightner is expected back in court for a restitution hearing in December.

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