Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Diver off Vero Beach, Florida

MIAMI — The Coast Guard has suspended its search Saturday for a missing diver off Vero Beach, Fla.

Ronald Stefens, 63, of Jensen Beach, Fla., was reported missing to the Coast Guard around 11 a.m. Thursday by fellow divers. At the time of his disappearance, he was about 12 miles east of Vero Beach. According to the report, Stefens had been missing for nearly an hour by the time the Coast Guard was notified.

Crewmembers from numerous units and agencies searched a combined area of nearly 2,500 square miles for Stefens before the search was suspended.

Assisting in the search was:

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.
  • A 47-foot Utility boat crew from Station Fort Pierce, Fla.
  • A 33-foot Special Purpose Law Enforcement boat crew from Station Fort Pierce
  • Two HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Miami
  • An HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Air Station Miami
  • A C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater
  • A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft crew from Vero Beach
  • A P-3 Orion aircrew from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

“Lobster mini-season brings numerous participants, and unfortunately, incidents occur resulting in the unnecessary loss of life,” said Rear Adm. Steve Branham, Seventh Coast Guard District commander. “The Coast Guard strives for all mariners, including recreational divers and snorkelers, to be safe and aware of their environment.”

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