Woman in Ventura College Group Dies on Anacapa Island Scuba Trip


A woman died Saturday morning after losing consciousness during a Ventura College scuba-diving trip off Anacapa Island, but her death does not appear to be dive-related, officials said.

Ventura resident Julia Asaoka, 47, was snorkeling on the surface before her first dive when her dive partner, 17-year-old Brian Owen, noticed her body go limp and begin to sink, said officials at the Ventura County medical examiner’s office.

Owen dived to retrieve Asaoka and reached her on the ocean floor 28 feet below.

When the youth brought his partner back to the Ventura-based dive boat Spectre, she had no vital signs. She was given CPR.


A Coast Guard helicopter from Los Angeles International Airport responded to the north side of Anacapa and took the woman to Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

Owen was also treated at Los Robles after showing signs of decompression sickness.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dan Larson said he did not know why the woman died, but an investigation is continuing. An autopsy is scheduled Monday.

“I don’t believe it’s dive-related, because she never did a dive,” he said. “She was getting ready to do her first dive of the day.”

The boat’s skipper, Ted Cumming, said the boat was chartered for a Ventura College scuba-diving class. About 40 people were on the outing.