Coast Guard Searching for Missing Diver Off Key Biscayne

39-year-old man missing after drifting away from dive boat without flippers

By Betty Yu, Brian Hamacher and Claudia DoCampo
|  Monday, Apr 8, 2013  |  Updated 6:32 PM EDT
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Miami-Dade Police on Monday identified Jeffrey Vincent, 39, as the diver who is being searched for after he went missing off of Key Biscayne Sunday. Miami-Dade Police spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta and Miami Beach Coast Guard Lt. Commander Joe Abeyta discussed the case.

Miami-Dade Police on Monday identified Jeffrey Vincent, 39, as the diver who is being searched for after he went missing off of Key Biscayne Sunday. Miami-Dade Police spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta and Miami Beach Coast Guard Lt. Commander Joe Abeyta discussed the case.

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Search Continues for Diver Missing Off Key Biscayne

Authorities continued their search for a diver who went missing Sunday in waters off Key Biscayne. Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta comments.

Coast Guard Searching for Missing Diver Off Key Biscayne

The Coast Guard is searching for a 48-year-old diver who went missing three miles off of Key Biscayne, officials said Sunday. According to the Coast Guard, the diver was reported missing around 12:15 p.m. after he jumped into the water without his flippers and began drifting away from the 27-foot dive boat. Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta and Coast Guard spokesman Joe Abeyta comment.
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Authorities on Monday identified Jeffrey Vincent, 39, as the diver who is being searched for after he went missing off of Key Biscayne.

Vincent was last seen on Sunday three and a half miles east of Key Biscayne at the Princess Britney dive site, Miami-Dade Police said.

Vincent was wearing a black short sleeve wetsuit and was in full dive gear, police said.

According to the Coast Guard, the diver was reported missing around 12:15 p.m. Sunday after he jumped into the water without his flippers and began drifting away from the 27-foot dive boat.

"I can tell you that the diver did have all of his safety equipment on, he was fully outfitted for diving with the exception of his fins," Miami Beach Coast Guard Lt. Commander Joe Abeyta said Sunday night. "So with that being said, it sounds like he had some training and hopefully he can keep it afloat tonight."

Authorities, who initially said they were looking for a 48-year-old diver, searched into the night Sunday before halting the search. They resumed at sunrise Monday.

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A 33-foot Coast Guard rescue boat and MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter were sent from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach to search for the man, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Miami-Dade Marine Patrol, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade Air Rescue assisting in the search.

"We’re still remaining hopeful. We’re still trying to – you know, we’re keeping our fingers crossed," Miami-Dade Police spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said Monday, adding that authorities are praying "that the current may have taken him."

The diver was wearing a black wet suit and personal flotation device when he went missing, the Coast Guard said.

It's not known what was the original cause for Vincent's disappearance, Zabaleta said.

"This has nothing to do with anybody being careless, it appeared that they did everything by the book. Everything was followed per protocol," he said. "What they’re trying to figure out is, when they turned the boat around, how was it that they lost sight of him so quickly? And that what’s intriguing everybody.”

According to Abeyta, the water temperatures, which are in the 70s, make it more favorable to surviving.

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"We had a similar case back in December where an individual was afloat for about nine hours throughout the course of the night and we did find that individual the next morning around 10 o'clock," he said.

The Coast Guard also said that if the diver was wearing an aluminum oxygen tank it can be used as a flotation device once it's empty.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed, we're still praying that the current may have taken him and that we're able to find him now that there's daylight," Zabaleta said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coast Guard at 305-415-6800 or the Miami-Dade Police Missing Persons Unit at 305-476-5423 or 305-418-7200.

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