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A search and rescue cormorant helicopter hovers above the sea in Logy Bay late Wednesday evening, as searchers look for the body of a young man. ((CBC))

Friends of the young Newfoundland man who died after cliff diving into Logy Bay Wednesday evening told CBC News he was a young man who "lived life to the fullest" and someone who had always been a bit of a risk taker.

The body of Cody Courtney, 20, from Arnold's Cove, was pulled from the sea Wednesday evening after a three-hour search and rescue mission in the bay near St. John's.

Courtney and three of his friends were out riding their dirt bikes when they stopped at Logy Bay.

One friend told CBC News the group hadn't gone to cliff dive but when they walked down to a spot with a sheer drop into the sea, Courtney decided to jump in. His friends quickly realized he was in trouble, and tried to climb down to save him.

There are unconfirmed reports that Courtney, who had jumped 15 metres from the cliff, hit his head on a rock that was almost two metres below the surface of the water.

His friend said Courtney had been known to do daring things in the past.

Courtney, who was home from Fort McMurray, Alta., was a pipefitter, and planned to return to Alberta later in September. 

Body recovered in 3-hour search

Search and rescue officials were called to the cliffs of Logy Bay after berrypickers called 911 at 3:25 p.m. Wednesday saying they saw people jump off the cliff who then appeared to be in trouble.

Wayne Hutchings was nearby and saw three men waving frantically from the cliff.

"Then all of a sudden one of the men decided to scale down the side of the cliff and I watched him go down and he jumped in the water," Hutchings said. "I looked where he jumped, and it looked to me that there was another person in the water but I couldn't tell."

At 6:25 p.m., three hours after the search for Courtney began, officials pulled his body from the sea and into a rescue craft.

An autopsy is expected to be performed Thursday.

Locals told reporters the area is popular for cliff diving, but there is an undertow.