Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cutter Rescues Missing Divers near Mayport

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cutter Rescues Missing Divers near Mayport

Article excerpt

Two Jacksonville men missing on a diving trip were found bobbing in the ocean yesterday about 45 miles northeast of Mayport and between their dive site and their boat.

Paul Bryant, 42, and Ralph Bledsoe, 50, were dehydrated, sunburned and tired when the 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Pea Island plucked them from the ocean about 6 p.m.

"Thank you God and thank you Coast Guard," said Pat Bryant, who had reported her husband missing after he and his diving companion did not return Sunday night.

The men were found about 15 miles northeast of an area called Amberjack Hole, where it is believed they had been diving on a sunken tugboat. Bryant's boat, a 26-foot Grady White named Yard Pass, was found another 15 miles northeast of the divers.

"What it looks like is they had gone diving, they popped up and their boat had drifted away," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Angela Weeks. Because of winds and sea currents, a boat will drift farther than people in the water, she said. …

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