Coast Guard has suspended the search, Tuesday, for Timothy Obi, a 37-year-old male diver who went missing Saturday approximately 46 miles east of Mayport.
Diving equipment matching the description of Obi was located by a diver Tuesday at approximately 1 p.m. about 250 yards from the original dive location.
The Coast Guard and mission partners searched more than 3,800 square nautical miles for approximately 89 hours.
On Saturday, the dive vessel, Pole Dancer, notified Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville watchstanders at approximately 12:15 p.m., that Obi went missing while diving.
A Station Mayport rescue crew and an Air Station Savannah helicopter crew launched. Naval Station Mayport-based USS Lassen assisted with the search and relayed communications to the watchstanders. Searching continued for more than three days by multiple agencies both on and below the surface of the water.
“This afternoon I have made the determination based on new information to suspend the search for Mr. Timothy Obi. The Coast Guard and our partners extend our deepest condolences to the Obi family, who remain our thoughts and prayers during this exceptionally difficult time. Earlier today, the Coast Guard received a report from a volunteer dive boat indicating they had located damaged diving gear. The Obi family confirmed that the gear belonged to Mr. Timothy Obi. The location and condition of the gear are consistent with a suspected encounter with a marine predator.
I am incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support in the Jacksonville community and for the hundreds of volunteers who took to the air and sea throughout this search effort. I am indebted to our many mission partners: Florida Fish and Wildlife, Customs and Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and USS LASSEN. The Obi family has asked the public and media to respect their privacy while the family grieves their loss, and to direct all questions and inquiries to the United States Coast Guard,” said Capt. Mark Vlaun, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.”
Coast Guard assets involved in the search:
- MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Savannah
- HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Air Station Clearwater
- HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane aircrew from Air Station Miami
- A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Mayport
- Coast Guard Cutter Tarpon
- Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans