Diver last seen inside Navy ship sunk off Keys
KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- A scuba diver went missing inside a Navy ship sunk in 2002 as an artificial reef off the Florida Keys, officials said.
Joseph Dragojevich of Orlando was last seen Thursday afternoon inside the wreck of the USS Spiegel Grove, about six miles east of Key Largo, said Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin.
Dragojevich and James Dorminy of Kissimmee were on a commercial dive, and they decided to enter the 510-foot-long ship while the others did not, Herrin said.
The men attached a reel line when they entered so that they would be able to find their way out.
Dorminy told deputies that they explored several levels of the ship before beginning their exit. Dorminy said he was in the lead and Dragojevich was reeling in the line behind him.
When Dorminy last saw him, Dragojevich signaled with his dive light that he was all right, Herrin said. But when Dorminy turned back again, Dragojevich was gone and the line was slack and tangled.
Dorminy searched for Dragojevich until he started to run out of air and then surfaced for help, Herrin said. An initial search by the Coast Guard and state wildlife officers failed to find Dragojevich.
The sheriff's office and divers from the Key Largo Fire Department continued to search the wreck Friday.
The Miami Herald reports that over the years, protective seals that once blocked dark, narrow passageways and rooms inside the sunken vessel have been removed. In 2007, two divers from New Jersey died inside one of those rooms, and another man who had been diving with them died as he tried to reach the surface.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)