A body matching the description of a 28-year-old Maitland diver who did not resurface in the Atlantic Ocean 24 miles east of Ponce de Leon Inlet was found Tuesday afternoon.
Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen said a member of an independent group of divers assisting the Coast Guard in the search for Ryan Myers found the body before 1 p.m. near where Ryan was last seen Monday morning.
“We are waiting for the medical examiner to determine the identity of the victim,” Jorgensen said of the body which was taken to Coast Guard Station Ponce de Leon in New Smyrna Beach.
The divers who located the body joined crews from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Diamondback and Coast Guard helicopters and a C-130 Hercules airplane in searching the area where Ryan failed to resurface while spearfishing off an Altamonte Springs-based Yellowfin fishing boat Monday.
The men usually used the New Smyrna Beach boat launches on the North Causeway, said Keith Sterner, owner of New Smyrna Beach’s Sea Dogs dive shop on Flagler Avenue who knew another person on the boat.
Sterner said Myers was one of a trio of men on a commercial fish hunt in an area called the South 15s.
Coast Guard officials said in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon that Myers was diving with Jeffrey Wayne Pries, 44. The third man, who was not identified, stayed aboard the Yellowfin.
“It is over 100 feet deep,” he said Tuesday. “It is definitely an advanced dive.”
Myers disappeared about 10 a.m. Monday. He was carrying about 30 minutes of air in a tank with him, Coast Guard officials said.
“The (boat owner) said they were spearfishing on an underwater ledge,” said Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate David Carrig, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Ponce de Leon in New Smyrna Beach.
When Ryan failed to resurface after an hour, one of the people aboard the Yellowfin contacted the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville by radio.
The crew of a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Clearwater in the area for training was diverted to search for the Myers.
Carrig said a crew from Station Ponce de Leon aboard the station’s 45-foot response boat also participated in the search as well as a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater.