Search underway for missing diver off coast of Mayport

Diver was spearfishing with 2 others about 46 miles off coast but didn’t return to boat, Coast Guard says

A father of three is missing after going diving off the coast of Mayport on Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A father of three is missing after going diving off the coast of Mayport on Saturday.

Timothy Obi’s family said the Jacksonville native went out with three friends on a boat around 6:45 a.m. Saturday.

The group left from a dock behind Obi’s friend’s house in the Isle of Palms neighborhood.

Obi’s family said three of the four people on the boat went diving around 11:18 a.m. for 20 minutes, but Obi didn’t come back up.

He was last seen while spearfishing at these coordinates: N 30º28.796′ -- W 80º28.228′, which are about 46 miles off Mayport, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has a 45-foot response boat searching from Mayport and has called in a helicopter from Air Station Savannah to help. The Navy and Florida wildlife personnel are also searching.

His family has asked for anyone with a boat to come help in the search.

Obi’s family described him as a 36-year-old white male, about 6 feet, 2 inches tall with a shaved head who was last seen wearing a black wetsuit. According to social media posts, he has a wife and three sons.

“He’s a family man, very caring, born and raised in Jacksonville,” his sister-in-law, Laura Sanders, said.

She said his whole family is praying and hoping he is found soon. Sanders said Obi has been diving for five years.

“He had the best technology, all the safety equipment. They know what they’re doing,” an emotional Sanders said via phone Saturday.

She said she got a call at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, saying there was an emergency beeper activated on the boat.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.