Missing Zenobia diver found dead

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An Irish diving instructor who had gone missing while off the Cyprus coast was found dead trapped inside a shipwreck that is a major attraction for divers, authorities said Friday.

An intensive search was launched on Thursday after the 66-year-old was reported missing after he didn’t come up from a dive with a colleague at the Zenobia wreck off the southern coastal resort of Larnaca.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center Larnaca said its operation to locate a “missing diver who had descended into the shipwreck ‘Zenobia’ completed today (Friday) at 11:00, with the diver found inside the wreck, unfortunately without vital signs”.

Moreover, an analysis was carried out of the visual material from the camera carried by the second diver who surfaced and raised the alarm about his colleague.

The video made it apparent that the two divers had communicated with gestures to ascend to the surface, but the second diver didn’t make it.

The video evidence helped in the search for the missing diver who was found in the engine room.

It said the Coast Guard, Maritime Police, the Police Air Support Unit, and the navy’s underwater demolition unit participated in the extensive underwater searches.

Specialised volunteer groups from private diving schools also participated in the search efforts.

“Due to the high risk of underwater search operations, JRCC expresses its gratitude to the involved volunteer teams, who responded promptly and contributed with the utmost professionalism to locate the unfortunate diver,” said JRCC.

The Zenobia – at a depth of 42 metres – is rated one of the top ten wreck dives in the world.

A Swedish-built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979 capsized and sank in the Mediterranean Sea off Larnaca in June 1980 on her maiden voyage with tis cargo of 108 articulated lorries.

According to state TV, there were six drownings at the Zenobia site before Friday’s discovery.