From Islapedia

THORNES, Bjorn (c. 1938-1965) age 27, drowned while SCUBA diving near Big Fishermans Cove on Santa Catalina Island on September 19, 1965.

In the News~

September 20, 1965 [LBI]: “Skindiver drowns off Catalina. A novice skindiver, who apparently lost his aqualung equipment while struggling to free himself from a kelp bed in 26 feet of water, drowned shortly before noon Sunday in Big Fisherman Cove off Catalina Island. The victim, Bjorn Thornes, 27, of 4660 Clara St., Cudahay, came to the U.S. about six months ago from Oslo, Norway, with his wife Karen, according to sheriff's deputies. Thornes, his wife and a group of Scandia Norsemen Ski Club members were diving from the chartered boat Pacific Diver, out of Long Beach. Except for a weight belt, the victim's scuba equipment was missing, and his lifejacket had not been inflated, when his body was recovered.”

September 20, 1965 [San Bernardino Sun]: “Skindiver tangles in seaweed, drowns. Avalon—A skin diver drowned yesterday near Santa Catalina Island when he became entangled in seaweed and apparently lost aqualung equipment in his struggle to get free. The victim was Bjorn Thornes, 27, of Cudahy.”

September 20, 1965 [The Catalina Islander]: “A weekend outing at the Isthmus for the Scandia Norsemen, a skin diving club, ended in tragedy for one of its members last Sunday. Bjorn Thornes, aged 27, from Cudahy, California, was one of the group of six divers who chartered the Pacific Diver for a weekend of diving at Catalina that took his life. Thornes, accompanied by Per Solberg, had reached a depth of 30 to 50 feet when he motioned his companion to the surface. According to a report by the Sheriff's Department, Solberg started to surface when he became entangled in kelp, losing his face mask. At this point he inflated his life vest and shot to the surface, where he requested aid from those on the boat. After a search of about 30 minutes, Thornes was located on the ocean floor without a face mask or tank, but still wearing his life vest. Efforts to revive him proved futile, despite the administrations of a doctor who happened to be at the location. The body of the accident victim was returned to the mainland by Sheriff's helicopter. Thornes, whose wife had accompanied him on the outing, was said by his instructor to be an accomplished diver.”