Coast Guard finds, rescues missing diver off Sarasota Pass

Coast Guard District 7 NewsBRADENTON BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued a missing diver approximately nine miles southwest of Sarasota Pass, Saturday.

A 43-year-old Sarasota man was scuba diving with friends when he became separated from the group. The diver’s friends immediately contacted the Coast Guard over VHF radio and requested assistance.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Cortez and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater were launched at 7:30 p.m. to search from the missing man.

“The diving group all went below to release the boat’s anchor and when they surfaced the vessel was moving,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Preston Humbard, a Station Cortez boatcrew member. “Two of the divers made it to the drifting boat, but the third couldn’t make it and decided to wait. His friends went back to look for him but couldn’t see him in the dark.”

The aircrew aboard the Jayhawk helicopter spotted the man at 8 p.m. and lowered a rescue swimmer to assist. The rescue swimmer stayed with the man until the Station Cortez boatcrew could pluck him from the water.

The diver was transferred to Manatee County Fire and Rescue emergency medical services at the Coquina Key boat ramp. No injuries have been reported

“While operating a private boat, it is important to make sure someone knowledgeable of boat procedures and dive safety stays topside to tend to the boat,” said Jason Morris, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg search and rescue controller.

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