McWhirter, Lawrence D. (1941-1963)[SS#559-54-2954], 18, drowned, along with Gary Webber, 22, at White's Landing, Santa Catalina Island on December 1, 1963.
In the News~
December 2, 1963 [LBI]: “Skin diver drowns. 2nd feared dead. One skindiver drowned and another was presumed drowned off White's Landing, Catalina Island, Sunday. A third is undergoing treatment for the bends in the Navy recompression chamber on Terminal Island. Drowned was Gary Webber, 18, of Pacoima. Presumed drowned is Lawrence McWhirter, 18, of La Puente. Lee L. Calvert, 18, of Monrovia, is reported to be recovering satisfactorily. Coast Guard search and Rescue received an SOS at 10:45 a.m. from the vessel Jennifer, owned by Walter E. Roberts of North Hollywood, reporting that skindivers were in trouble. A helicopter was sent to the scene. Calvert was found in terrible pain on the beach. Beside him was Webber, who had been pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene. Both were taken to the recompression chamber, but Webber did not revive. McWhirter had dived 200 feet in an effort to rescue Webber. His body had not been recovered Sunday evening. Calvert and Webber were in a group of approximately 50 skindivers in a class led by Dave Podewitz of Monrovia. Calvert told a sheriff's officer Webber had panicked in deep water, tearing off both Calvert's mask and his own. White's Landing in on the channel side not far from Avalon.”
December 4, 1963 [LBI]: “Skindiver's Body Found Near Catalina. The body of Lawrence McWhirter, 22, of La Puente, who drowned Sunday while searching for another drowned skindiver, was found Tuesday off Santa Catalina Island by searchers in a two-man submarine. McWhirter's father had hired an underwater survey team which owned the submarine to make the search. The body was located in 155 feet of water near Pirate's Cove. The youth drowned while searching for the body of Gary Webber, 18, of Pacoima, who reportedly panicked while under water and ripped the face-mask off Lee L. Calvert, 18, of Monrovia, who tried to help him. Calvert survived after treatment for a severe attack of bends brought on by too fast surfacing.”