Coast Guard crews searching for missing diver, possible missing kayaker off Ponce Inlet

Southeastern Coast Guard News
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Coast Guard boat and air crews are searching the Atlantic Ocean about 24 miles east of Ponce De Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Monday for a diver who was not seen resurfacing and for the owner of a kayak that was found overturned.

Crew aboard the fishing vessel Yellowfin used a VHF-FM marine radio at 11:09 a.m., to report to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach that it had been about one hour since a 28-year-old man dived from the boat with 30 minutes of oxygen, and he had not resurfaced.

An aircrew aboard a C-130 Hercules plane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., was conducting training nearby and diverted to begin searching for the diver. While en route to the search area, the aircrew spotted an approximately 10-foot long kayak with a white hull overturned about 10 miles from their intended destination.

The aircrew aboard the C-130 searched the area around the overturned kayak, left to refuel and is scheduled to return to the area to continue searching.

Searching for the missing diver are a boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat – Medium from Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon Inlet and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater.

Watchstanders at Sector Jacksonville are broadcasting a message for boaters in the area to keep a lookout. Crews have not found signs of the missing mariners at either location.

The Atlantic Beach-based Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback and the Miami Beach-based Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak are slated to join the search also.

Anyone with information on the kayak is urged to contact the Sector Jacksonville command center at (904) 564-7516.

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