(Back right) Timothy Obi stands with his family for a portrait. Obi disappeared Saturday, July 10, 2021 during a diving trip off the coast of Jacksonville. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

Coast Guard suspends search for diver missing off Jacksonville

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday in a press release that it will be suspending the search for a missing diver off the coast of Jacksonville.

Timothy Obi, 37, disappeared on Saturday while he was spearfishing 46 miles into the Atlantic.

The Coast Guard says it recovered diving equipment that matched the description of Obi’s just 250 yards from the original fishing location on Tuesday afternoon. According to the Coast Guard, the condition and location of the gear are consistent with a suspected marine predator encounter.

Obi has been a diver for the past five years.

Laura Sanders says her brother-in-law went on a boat around 6:45 a.m. Saturday morning with three friends. Two of them resurfaced, but Obi did not.

The Coast Guard and its partners searched more than 3,800 square nautical miles for approximately 89 hours.

“This afternoon I have made the determination based on new information to suspend the search for Mr. Timothy Obi. The Coast Guard and our partners extend our deepest condolences to the Obi family, who remain [in] our thoughts and prayers during this exceptionally difficult time. Earlier today, the Coast Guard received a report from a volunteer dive boat indicating they had located damaged diving gear. The Obi family confirmed that the gear belonged to Mr. Timothy Obi. The location and condition of the gear are consistent with a suspected encounter with a marine predator,” said Capt. Mark Vlaun, commander of Jacksonville’s Coast Guard Sector.

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