Noted Canadian conservationist and Sharkwater director Rob Stewart has been missing since yesterday evening around 5:15 pm. Diving off Islamorada near Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys, Stewart surfaced at the end of the dive, but when the boat came pick him up, he disappeared beneath the waves. Stewart was with three other divers, who all boarded the boat safely.
Jeremy Weaver, senior chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, told CBC Toronto that Stewart “resurfaced at the end of the dive, and as the boat was turning around to pick him up, he went back under — and was not seen again.”
Weaver said the Coast Guard would mount a larger search at sunrise, using a helicopter from Miami, a boat and a team of divers.
It’s still unclear why Stewart went back underwater, as weather conditions were good during the dive.
If you are in the Florida Keys, the rescue team is asking for help in locating Stewart. Boat captains and divers are needed to search near Alligator Reef. Boats can call search lead Charles Sexton on channel 16. Divers, please call Horizon Divers at (305) 453-3535.
Update 9:30am EST
The USCG is accepting and encouraging any and all assistance. Please contact the USCG Command Center in order to integrate into the search efforts at 305-292-8727.
Since the Gulf Stream currents flow north-easterly in the area, most of the waters between Islamorada to Key Largo is within the search area now.
Helo 6545 is assisting USCGC Charles Sexton with coordinating surface and air searches and both are using Marine Channel 16 to monitor civilian traffic. Surface conditions are favorable with light seas and good visibility.
Again – help will not be turned away, but please coordinate with the USCG for everyone’s safety. The rescue effort needs skilled boat captains and pilots. Contact USCG Command Center at 305-292-8727.
Stewart is most famous for Sharkwater, a 2006 documentary that examines global shark-hunting. His second documentary, Revolution, won a number of awards at international film festivals. It was the highest-grossing Canadian documentary in 2013.