January 20, 2014 / 6:30 PM / 5 years ago

North Carolina man missing after Grand Cayman dive

MIAMI (Reuters) - Grand Cayman authorities were searching on Monday for a U.S. tourist who disappeared after scuba diving near Seven Mile Beach, a popular dive site on the island’s northwest tip.

David Byles, 57, of Pinehurst, North Carolina surfaced from a group dive on Sunday with his wife, but vanished as the couple was swimming about 100 yards to the boat, according to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Marine Command Ian Yearwood.

Police said they recovered his dive vest and tank around mid-morning on Monday near the site.

The dive company, Sunset Divers, part of the Sunset House diving resort in George Town, reported Byles missing on Sunday morning. Police air and marine units along with volunteers joined in the search.

Shark attacks and jellyfish stings are uncommon at the beach, Yearwood said.

Last May, a 63-year-old U.S. cruise ship passenger had to be rescued while snorkeling off west Grand Cayman and was later pronounced dead.

The previous year, in March, a 70-year-old Utah woman became ill after a dive, fell unconscious on the dive boat and was rushed to Cayman Islands Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, editing by G Crosse

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