Local News

Rescue crews search for missing diver

Posted: 04/08/13 at 5:45 am EDT      Last Updated: 04/08/13 at 12:38 pm EDT

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Coast Guard crews are on a desperate search for a missing diver in Key Biscayne.

Monday morning, at sunrise, crews returned to sea to resume their search for the diver who went missing over the weekend.

The Coast Guard is leading a search for the 48-year-old man who they believe went missing off a diving boat at about 12:30 p.m., Sunday afternoon. Investigators said the man was somehow separated from a group of friends. Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said, "He apparently missed the lifeline, the current was a little strong and pulled him away a little bit, and as the friends attempted to move the boat to get to him it was only within minutes that they lost sight of him."

Other agencies are also assisting in the search mission. Coast Guard cutters are out on the water along with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Coast Guard planes and Marine Patrol planes are also searching for the missing man about three miles east of Key Biscayne.

The group re-boarded the "Nia" vessel Sunday night at Matheson Hammock Marina in Coral Gables, while their friend remained in the water.

A Coast Guard spokesperson said the man drifted away from the boat without any flippers on. "I can tell you the diver did have all the safety equipment on, and it sounds like he had training and hopefully he can keep it afloat tonight," said Coast Guard Miami Beach Lt. Commander Joe Abeyta.

The Coast Guard hopes the man is using the oxygen tanks that were on his back as floatation devices. They believe it is still possible that this missing 39-year-old man is still alive. "Well, based on the weather conditions and the fact that he did have all the proper equipment on, we remain optimistic that we're going to locate this individual," said Abeyta.

When they set out on the scuba diving excursion there were five men on board the boat. All of them, except the man missing are from South Florida.

The search was expanded and now includes the waters between Haulover Beach and Key Biscayne.

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