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Buttle and his friend, Eric Alan Hammer, departed from Corral State Beach in Los Angeles County, California on December 7, 2001. They paddled a two-person kayak out to a yacht that they anchored 600 yards offshore to perform work on the boat. The National Weather Service issued several advisories regarding strong winds that approached the area during the day. Buttle and Hammer encountered intensifying conditions at sea while returning to shore. Buttle was knocked out of the kayak near Dan Blocker County Beach shortly thereafter. He has never been heard from again.
Authorities rescued Hammer later that evening. He was located approximately three miles off of the coast. The men's kayak and their two paddles were also recovered at the scene. Hammer was treated for hypothermia at a local hospital. He said he and Buttle had gotten separated about half an hour before he himself was rescued. Authorities continued searching for Buttle by air and sea until December 8, the day after his disappearance. He is presumed drowned, but his remains have never been located. Buttle continues to be classified as a missing person.
Buttle was a resident of Malibu, California in 2001.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department