State police divers locate body believed to be missing diver

BOSTON – After a 96-hour multi-agency search covering 524 square nautical miles, Massachusetts State Police divers located a body today which they believe is the diver who went missing about a half mile south of Gloucester, Mass., Monday afternoon.

Paul Blanchette, 49, of Dracut, Mass., had been diving in about 90 feet of water off Eastern Point when the crew of the boat he was diving from notified Coast Guard Station Gloucester at about 4 p.m., Monday that he was more than two hours overdue.

Coast Guard Sector Boston led the search for Blanchette, which included a 25-foot response boat and a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Gloucester, several helicopters from Air Station Cape Cod, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Moray of Jonesport, Maine, and the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Grand Isle of Gloucester. The Rockport harbormaster also assisted, as well as divers from the Beverly Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for Blanchette at 9:45 a.m., today but provided a safety zone for the Massachusetts State Police as they continued to dive.

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