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Authorities Searching For Missing Diver Find Dead Body … But Not The One They Were Looking For

Image not from story. REUTERS/Kevin Light

Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Florida search teams discovered a body along the coast on Monday, but authorities say it wasn’t the corpse they were looking for.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Marine units were attempting to locate a 39-year-old diver who disappeared Sunday. Instead, they found the body of a 50-year-old man, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.

“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 sheriff’s office posted to Facebook.

The missing diver 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,” according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said they do not have any missing persons reports in the county matching the man’s description, the post notes, and authorities believe the body was not in the water for a long period of time. (RELATED: Woman’s Body Found In Pond Near Disney World After 12 Years).

“The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead on this investigation, and they’re working with the medical examiner to determine cause and approximate time of death,” the sheriff’s office explained.

Authorities were searching for Virgil Price, a free diver who was last seen diving near a World War II-era shipwreck in the area, according to CBS News. Price reportedly dove underwater and never resurfaced.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday night that the 36-hour search for Price has been suspended after covering over 1,415 miles.

“The decision to suspend an active search is never taken lightly. We extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Price’s family,” LCDR John Beal said in the announcement posted to Twitter.