Extensive search continues for missing Fla., Keys diver

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MIAMI — Coast Guard crews continue the search for a 32-year-old missing diver from Winter Springs, Florida, approximately 15 miles off the coast of Islamorada, Florida.

Matt Milton was reported being last seen swimming toward a 23-foot fishing vessel after he and his brother surfaced from diving and saw their vessel drifting away from their position.

Jeff Stewart, Milton’s brother, was rescued after being located clinging to a mooring ball off the coast of Islamorada.

Coast Guard crews involved in the search have searched more than 3,749 square miles. Coast Guard units searching include:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered
  • Coast Guard Cutter Bernard Weber
  • Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark
  • Coast Guard Station Islamorada
  • Coast Guard Air Station Miami
  • Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Key West, Florida command center first learned of the missing divers when they were notified of an overdue fishing vessel at 7 p.m., Saturday.

The report from the owner of a local boat rental company stated a 23-foot fishing vessel with two people aboard left Islamorada at 7 a.m., Saturday and was scheduled to return at 5 p.m., Saturday.

The Coast Guard diverted the Cutter Dependable and a smallboat crew from Coast Guard Station Islamorada.

Station Islamorada crewmembers located Stewart in the water clinging to a mooring ball off the coast of Islamorada. Stewart stated he and his brother were diving, and when they resurfaced they discovered their vessel had drifted away. The two reportedly swam toward the boat, but Stewart was unable to reach the vessel.  He then reportedly drifted and swam for more than three hours until he finally reached the mooring ball where he was rescued.

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