After extensive search efforts, the Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to suspend the search for a missing 32-year-old diver near Deerfield Beach. Erik Gaunt, a Caucasian male, was reported missing by the crew of the dive vessel Aqua Life on Saturday. Despite more than 112 hours of search operations covering an area approximately the size of Massachusetts, no sign of Gaunt has been found.
Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders were alerted to Gaunt’s disappearance at around 11:50 a.m. on Saturday when the diver failed to resurface. A joint effort involving Coast Guard assets, partner agencies, and local authorities was immediately launched to locate Gaunt. However, despite their exhaustive efforts, no substantial leads or new information have been obtained.
Chief Warrant Officer Edgardo Insignares, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Miami, expressed the difficulty of the decision to suspend the search. “The decision to suspend an active search is never easy and is only done after exhaustive efforts to find the missing person,” said Insignares. He also extended heartfelt condolences to the Gaunt family, stating, “The Coast Guard and our partners extend our deepest condolences to the Gaunt family, who remain in our thoughts and prayers during this exceptionally difficult time.”
Multiple assets were involved in the search operation, including the Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet, Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce, Coast Guard Cutter Shrike, Coast Guard Cutter Flying Fish, Air Force Reserve 920th Rescue Wing, Civil Air Patrol, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Customs and Border Protection, and the Boca Police Department Marine Unit.
While the active search has been suspended, the Coast Guard and other agencies will remain vigilant and receptive to any new information that may aid in locating Erik Gaunt. The focus now shifts to supporting the Gaunt family during this difficult time and providing them with the necessary assistance and resources.