Florida officials find second body during search for missing diver

The search for a missing diver in Florida took a bizarre twist Monday when rescuers found a different body — whose identity is also a mystery.

Water rescuers made the bewildering discovery while searching off the coast of Fort Pierce for freediver Virgil Price, who had vanished while exploring a World War II-era shipwreck the day earlier.

The unknown man was pulled from the water some 30 miles from where Price was last seen.

Freediver Virgil Price went missing Sunday while exploring the SS Halsey shipwreck. Florida Freedivers

“This individual weighs approximately 200 to 225 lbs. and appears to be over 50 years of age. His clothing and physical characteristics do not match those of the missing diver from Sunday,” the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said.

Nearly everything about the man remains a mystery: he does not match any missing person reports in the area and it is not clear what caused his death, the department said.

The body, however, “does not appear to have been in the water for an extended period of time.”

A second body was found during the search, but officials have not yet identified who the man is or how he died. St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office

The strange discovery came just hours after the US Coast Guard suspended its search for Price, 39.

The experienced free diver was exploring the Halsey shipwreck, roughly 13 miles southeast from the shore, when “he failed to resurface,” the sheriff’s office said.

The 435-foot long ship — sunk by a German U-boat in 1942 — has become a popular diving destination. The wreck, broken in three pieces, rests 65 feet deep on the ocean floor, according to FishingStatus.

The Coast Guard said it covered more than 1,415 miles over 36 hours before suspending the search for Price. Florida Freedivers

The USCG said it covered more than 1,415 miles over 36 hours in hopes of finding the missing man, but decided to halt the search “pending new info,” though they did not clarify what details led to the suspension.

“The decision to suspend an active search is never taken lightly. We extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Price’s family,” Lt. Cmdr. John Beal said in a statement.

Price was identified as a “team member” at Florida Freedivers, a sporting goods store in North Palm Beach.

He was last seen wearing a green wetsuit with an orange stripe on the hood, yellow weights on his weight belt and black carbon fiber fins.

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