November 3, 2014

Orlando man missing after dive trip

One man is missing after a dive trip which went wrong over the weekend.

The missing man, 32 year old Matthew Milton of Orlando was in the Florida Keys with his brother-in-law, 35 year old Jeffrey Stewart. The two rented a boat Saturday morning, planning several dives for the day. Stewart told Deputy Nelson Sanchez they were a mile south of Crocker Reef and were planning their last dive of the day in that location around 11 a.m. because they knew the weather was supposed to turn rough. They both entered the water for the dive and they took the anchor to the bottom to set it securely. At the end of the dive they looked for the anchor line so they could follow it to the surface. They could not find the line.

Stewart said they surfaced and could see the boat drifting away from them. They began to swim after it. After swimming for at least an hour, the two men had not caught up with the boat and they became separated from each other as well.

Stewart said he could no longer see Milton, but he saw a dive boat on what he thought was the wreck of the Eagle so he began swimming toward it, yelling in an attempt to get their attention. It appears no one on the boat heard him, however and the dive boat left before he could reach it. He finally did reach the wreck and was able to hang on to a mooring buoy. At 7 p.m., the company that rented the boat to the men called the Coast Guard to report them overdue. The rental company told the Coast Guard the wreck of the Eagle was one of the destinations the two men had discussed. At 10 p.m. the Coast Guard reportedly reached the wreck of the Eagle and found Stewart still clinging to the buoy. He was treated for a mild case of hypothermia.

The Coast Guard continued searching for Milton throughout Saturday night and all day on Sunday. They are still reportedly searching for Milton today.

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