David Byles, a US resident, went missing during a scuba diving trip off Seven Mile Beach off the Cayman Islands on Sunday. The search for Byles continues on into its third day, but, according to ABC News, the search has now entered its “recovery” phase because “officials no longer believe he could be alive.”
Royal Cayman Island Police Service said that Byles, 57, of Pinehurst North Carolina, was scuba diving with his wife. Both were apart of an organized group dive off Seven Mile Beach on Sunday. Byles disappeared between the time he surfaced around 10:20 am and the 100 yard swim to the party’s awaiting boat.
Nobody had noticed Byles was missing, not even his wife, Rita. Rita believed that Byles may have boarded the boat ahead of her, but once she and the other 14 people were all on board, she noticed that her husband wasn’t there.
The dive company, Sunset Divers, part of the Sunset House diving resort in George Town, reported Byles missing on Sunday morning according to Reuters. “Police air and marine units along with volunteers joined in the search.”
“We’re now in our third day of searching and it’s extremely unlikely that Mr. Byles will be found alive,” Inspector Ian Yearwood, commander for the Police Marine unit, told ABC News while on board one of the search and recovery boats. “We’ve informed his wife, but obviously as each day goes by the chances grow slimmer.”
What has investigators, and the dive company confused is that Byles had surfaced just fine, and then he suddenly disappeared. “This is just completely unexpected,” Sunset House General Manager Keith Sahm said. “The thing that’s really aggravating is that it’s not like anything happened to him under the water… He surfaced and then he was gone.”
Fox News stated that the only signs of the missing diver was his scuba tank, buoyancy control device and an article of his clothing, which were found in the water Monday. There was no other signs of Byles in the area according to authorities. Yearwood appealed for specialist divers who are experienced in depths of at least 135 feet to join the search on Tuesday.
Sahm told reporters that Rita has been staying at the resort during the search, but she may be returning home on Wednesday after speaking with the American consulate in the Cayman Islands.
“Trying to second guess what happened — that’s exactly what it would be – second guessing and speculation. It’s a complete mystery.” said Sahm regarding David Byles’ disappearance.
[Image via Fotopedia]