Her body was recovered off the Mission Beach coast today and is now being identified by her family as, Staci Jackson, a Camp Pendleton Marine. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.
San Diego Lifeguard Rescue teams have recovered the body of a woman who was reported missing during a dive off Mission Beach Saturday.
On Sunday morning, lifeguards were able to pull the body from the water.
The diver, described by lifeguards as a woman in her 20s, went missing Saturday afternoon during a group dive near the HMCS Yukon shipwreck site, which is located about one mile off the shores of Mission Beach.
Lifeguard divers spent Saturday afternoon searching the ocean waters, while Coast Guard crews assisted in the search efforts via helicopter. At around 5 p.m., lifeguard officials confirmed they had found the diver's body. At that point, she had been missing for about three hours.
The woman was diving with three others when she failed to surface, officials said.
"It's a tragic event - you know any death we have out here is tragic - this one no less so than any others that we've had so yeah, it's a very disappointing way to end what was a pretty nice weekend day," said Lt. John Everhart with San Diego Lifeguards. "Our hearts go out to the family, the people that were on board the boat with her."
Efforts to bring the victim to the surface Saturday afternoon were suspended when it became dark and unsafe to dive. The recovery effort resumed at the crack of dawn Sunday.
According to lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum, the woman’s body was recovered just outside the USS Yukon shipwreck diving site, which rests approximately 100 feet below surface.
“Underneath the ship is a crevice – kind of an opening – that was the location they found the body,” explained Lt. Lerum.
Lerum said diving conditions were still difficult Sunday morning, but better than the initial surge lifeguard divers encountered during the attempted recovery of the body Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, lifeguards said the woman's diving death was an accident, though it's still under investigation.
Lerum said the woman's diving partner had attempted to bring her to the surface Saturday, but was unsuccessful. In the process, the diving partner made a rapid ascent to the surface, which Lerum said also turned into a medical emergency.
The diving partner was transported to UCSD Medical Center and was recovering Sunday, Lerum said.
Meanwhile, the official cause of the diver's death will be determined at a later time by the Medical Examiner's office.
The woman's family told NBC 7 the victim's name was Staci Jackson. She was 26 years old. The Medical Examiner’s office later identified the woman as Anastasia “Staci” Jackson.
Her family said Jackson – who’s originally from Philadelphia -- had been diving for years and was a Marine at Camp Pendleton for the past two-and-a-half years.
"She was a great person. Outgoing; great, cool kid. She enjoyed life,” said her uncle, Harold Jackson, on Sunday.
"She will be crazy missed. Phone calls are pouring in. People [are] jumping on planes to come to San Diego. It's not a good thing. She will be missed a lot," he continued.
Harold told NBC 7 that, according to lifeguards, diving conditions were poor on Saturday and Jackson’s group dive should’ve been cancelled.
"It was a bad decision and here's the outcome," he lamented.
Jackson's death comes on a weekend of high surf and tides at local beaches. The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory through 1 p.m. Monday. Earlier on Saturday, the Ocean Beach Pier closed for several hours due to high surf conditions.
Lifeguards said the dive to the USS Yukon shipwreck site is a challenging one - especially on a day like Saturday with choppy water, high surf, and low visibility.