MIAMI (CBS4) – Teams are wrapping up a second day of searching for a diver who vanished off Key Biscayne on Sunday.
Miami-Dade’s Marine Patrol and Fire Rescue, along with members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, joined Coast Guard crews in Monday’s search which was expanded with each passing hour.
“We’re still remaining hopeful, keeping out fingers crossed, still praying that the fact that the current may have taken him and that were able to find him,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Jeffrey Vincent, visiting South Florida from Lompoc, California, was on a 27-foot boat with his friends Sunday getting ready to dive the Princess Britney wreck, about three miles off Key Biscayne. When he jumped in the water, he missed the safety line and was swept away by the current.
“This has nothing to do with them being careless, it’s just the current was strong,” said Zabaleta. “Another person tried to jump in to assist him but the current pulled him away too far. That’s when they decided to anchor up and turn the boat around to be able to assist him and that quickly is when they lost sight of him.”
Teams in the water and in the air searched the wreck site which goes about 90 feet deep, but found nothing.
The Coast Guard said Vincent was wearing his wetsuit and dive gear, which has an air tank and flotation device which will help his survival chances. He wasn’t wearing fins.
“He’s an experienced diver, so were hoping that, because of that, part of the whole training to become a diver is the survival,” said Zabaleta. “So were holding on to that and the water was pretty warm last night so there are a lot of factors that are in his favor.”
While search teams search for Vincent one mystery remains.
“What they’re trying to figure out is when they turned the boat around how was it that they lost sight of him so quickly and that’s what’s intriguing everybody,” said Zabaleta.
There were five people on the boat; three divers, the captain and a crew member. The coast guard investigation found they did everything by the book and were not negligent, but that investigation is ongoing. Search teams will continue looking until they have exhausted all of their resources.