Diver Missing Off Andrea Doria Wreck

coast guard helicopterNANTUCKET – The Coast Guard is searching for a 64-year-old diver Wednesday who went missing while diving near the Andrea Doria wreck, about 40 nautical miles south of Nantucket.

The Andrea Doria wreck rests in 240 feet of water. Diving in the area has resulted in seven deaths and four injuries since 2005.

Crew aboard the commercial diving boat John Jack notified Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England watchstanders Tuesday at about 1 p.m. reporting the man did not resurface from his dive.

Another diver confirmed being with the missing man at their 20-foot decompression stop, then did not see him upon reaching the surface.

An Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Casa air crew was immediately diverted and was on scene within three minutes of the initial report.

First Coast Guard Spokesman Ross Ruddell said the response was so quick because the helicopter was in the air already.

“Regardless of the time of year, the ocean is constantly in a state of flux and people really need to be aware of their surroundings,” Ruddell said. “Even if you’re an experienced diver, telling someone where you go, you have proper safety equipment, you have a float plan and you have a back-up plan if something goes wrong.”

In addition to the Casa aircrew, crews aboard the 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Juniper, 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Chinook and three MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod are searching for the man.

“They’ve been flying almost non-stop,” he said.

So far, the Coast Guard has searched more than 159 square nautical miles.

“Diving is an inherently dangerous activity,” said Tim Carton, First Coast Guard District search and rescue specialist. “In addition to health hazards, here in New England, water temperatures are especially cold and there are strong currents, especially around our shores.”

He continued, “The ocean is unforgiving. The Coast Guard reminds everyone on the water, whether diving, snorkeling, boating or swimming to stay vigilant, especially in unfamiliar places.”

As of 2 p.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Juniper is standing by on scene and a new ocean sentry aircraft crew has been sent to search,” Ruddell said.

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