RYDER, Bruce Raymond (1961-2014), was killed in a fierce windstorm that hit Avalon Harbor, Santa Catalina Island, on December 30, 2014. Ryder lived aboard his 31-foot recreational boat Ocean Ryder II.
In the News~
December 31, [LAT]: “The Los Angeles County coroner was called to Catalina Island today to recover two bodies. Officials said one was that of a Harbor Patrol officer killed during a fierce windstorm. Several boats became beached on Catalina on Tuesday night amid high winds, according to the National Weather Service. "I heard the harbor just took a beating last night. Boats were knocked loose," said Capt. John Kades of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. "A body was pulled out of the water." The circumstances of the second death were not immediately known.”
December 31, 2014 [CBSLA.com] “AVALON — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives Wednesday were investigating two deaths in the Avalon Harbor. Officials responded to the Green Pleasure Pier around 3:30 a.m. to reports of injuries after high winds caused boats to be knocked over. A harbor patrolman was killed after being pinned between a boat and a rock, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. Another man’s body was found floating in the water nearby. It was unclear if the two deaths were related to the same incident.”
December 31, 2014 [shorelinemedia.net]: “AVALON, Calif. (AP) — Two people are dead and a third is missing after storm winds broke boats loose from moorings at Santa Catalina Island off the Southern California coast. Los Angeles County fire Chief Daryl Osby says one of the dead is a harbor patrol officer and the other is an unidentified citizen. The incident occurred late Tuesday night in Avalon Harbor, where three power boats are now aground along the waterfront. The National Weather Service says winds up to 40 mph hit the harbor.”
Dec. 31, 2014 [UPI] “AVALON, Calif. A harbor patrolman was killed as he tried to rescue boats during a violent windstorm that lashed Catalina Island off Southern California. The body of another man was found floating in the harbor, police said. Both deaths were believed to be related to the storm that hit the Los Angeles area Tuesday. John Etheridge, a resident of Fountain Valley, Calif., who also owns property on Catalina, described the storm as the most severe he has seen on the island. He said 30 to 40 people tried to come to the patrolman's aid after he was swept from a dive vessel, King Neptune. "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen," Etheridge told KABC-TV. Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County coroner's department, said the patrolman was working to secure boats in Avalon Harbor late Tuesday when he was killed. "It appears that it was weather-related," Winter said. "There were boats that had broken loose from their moorings. He evidently got swept overboard and was pinned between the boat and rocks." Officials had not released the names of either man by noon Wednesday. The body of the patrolman was escorted to a helicopter by emergency vehicles. Winter said the second man died in a "water-related incident." Tom Quinn, a local resident, told KTLA-TV the patrolman was 27 and a "well-loved" man. He described the other victim as an experienced sailor. "All of a sudden, the wind just came," Quinn said as he sat in a harborfront bar Wednesday. "Mayhem was happening out here. ... Guys were dying." The storm also left scores of motorists stranded on roads in the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles, where a foot of snow fell at high elevations, and whipped the entire area with high wind. The island, 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, is a popular resort for sailing enthusiasts. Movie star Natalie Wood drowned in mysterious circumstances in 1981 while she and her husband, Robert Wagner, were anchored off Two Harbors on their yacht, Splendour.”
December 31, 2014 [nbclosangeles.com]: “Two men died Tuesday when fierce winds and big waves tore boats from their moorings and tossed vessels onto the rocky shore in one of the worst storms to hit Santa Catalina Island. Timothy Mitchell, 39, an Avalon Harbor Patrol officer, was crushed to death between a boat and a rock. Bruce Ryder, 53, was found floating in the water at 6:30 a.m. and died at a hospital, officials said. The Harbor Patrol officer died while trying to save a dive boat, the King Neptune, from sinking. He jumped off the boat as it came "perilously close" to striking rocks in the harbor, officials said. "The patrolman became lodged between the vessel and the rocks under the turbulent waves and could not be reached," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. At least three boats broke from moorings as wind gusts up to 40 mph lashed the island and swells up to 8 feet crashed onto the beach. Catalina is about 20 miles off the coast of Southern California. The storm snapped a section of pier on Avalon's beach. Three pleasure boats lay hard on their side on the beach, one smashed by rocks. Don MacKenzie and Lois Laughlin were not on the boat they live in when the storm hit. "We tried to get on it, but thank God we really weren't," Lois Laughlin said. The cove was vulnerable in this storm because it's not protected from waves washing in from the northeast. Residents said it was the worst storm to hit in years. Kurt Kaplan, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, said cold, dense winds "crashed down" on the island harder and persisted longer than in recent memory. "It's rare to see one that strong," he said. Avalon's harbor patrol assigns moorings and provides security on the city's waterfront. The staff includes 11 harbor patrol officers, according to the city.”
Jan. 2, 2015 [Associated Press]: “ 2nd man killed on Catalina Island is identified. AVALON, Calif. — A second man whose body was pulled from the water after storm winds broke boats loose from moorings at Southern California's Santa Catalina Island has been identified. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday that the body of 53-year-old Bruce Raymond Ryder was found in Avalon Harbor Wednesday during a search for another man. Ryder's body was found about 7:30 a.m. A few hours later, the body of 39-year-old Timothy Douglas Mitchell was also found. Mitchell was a harbor patrol assistant who'd disappeared late Tuesday in Avalon Harbor when several power boats were pushed aground along the waterfront when 40 mph winds hit. The Los Angeles Times says autopsies are pending for Ryder and Mitchell.”