Diver missing at Grotto


The Department of Fire and Emergency and Management Services has suspended the search for a 65-year-old man who went diving and had gone missing at the Grotto yesterday.

DFEMS identified the missing person as John J. Jones, a Caucasian male. The victim was last seen outside the Grotto and was with three other dive companions.

According to his companions, the victim motioned he was running low on air, showed no signs of distress, and was still okay, DFEMS said on a social media posting.

While entering back into the Grotto, the companions turned around and noticed the victim was no longer with them. The companions returned to the surface, notified the Grotto security to call for emergency help, changed out their tanks, and went back into the Grotto to search for their companions until the Department of Public Safety arrived.

Rescue operations ceased due to low light visibility and will continue again this morning, DFEMS noted.

DFEMS said that it received a call from DPS 911 about an overdue diver at the Grotto at 10:30am yesterday.

At 10:30am Rescue-1 and Forestry-1 from the Susupe Fire Station, Medic-2 from the Garapan Fire Station were dispatched and the Search and Rescue Unit was activated. DFEMS units arrived on scene at 10:51am.

DFEMS Unit conducted a cliffline search while SARU dove inside Grotto and DPS Boating Safety and Department of Land and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife conducted dive search outside the Grotto in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy helicopter from HC-25 out of Guam.

In separate news, DFEMS was able to extinguish a structure fire behind Twins Market in Puerto Rico last Friday.

Preliminary scene investigation by the Arson Investigation Unit revealed that the fire fully engulfed a one story semi-concrete residential unit. The point of origin was located on the western side of the structure.

No persons were injured and no treatments were provided at the scene for medical complaints in relation to the fire, which DFEMS was reportedly controlled at 2:09am.

The cause of the fire is still pending further investigation.

Saipan Tribune

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