This is terrifying.
A Toronto filmmaker and environmentalist has gone missing earlier this week after a night dive while shooting a follow-up to his documentary Sharkwater.
On Tuesday, Rob Stewart and two friends were diving near a shipwreck off the Florida Keys when the director disappeared under the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the search for the 37-year-old continued at dawn on Thursday, with members of the U.S. Navy, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and local police joining with 20 boats and 12 aircrafts.
A coast guard team stayed on the water overnight looking for traces of Stewart, who hasn’t been seen since 5 p.m. Tuesday when he didn’t resurface while diving in an area called Alligator Reef.
Spokesperson Jonathan Lally said the Coast Guard is remaining hopeful, telling local press:
“As long as there’s a chance for survival, we’re going to search. We remain hopeful we’re going to find him alive.”
The filmmaker was in Florida to film a sequel to his award-winning doc called Sharkwater: Extinction. Friends say he was diving hear the Queen of Nassau shipwreck and was less than 7 miles from shore when he apparently slipped underwater.
His sister Alexandra Stewart told reporters on Wednesday:
“He had surfaced and gave the OK sign and then he was gone. The other diver got on board and was struggling to get on board and then fell unconscious.”
She said the boat crew lost sight of Stewart during the commotion, and expressed concern he lost consciousness as well.
It was the director’s third dive of the day and was the deepest dive he had ever completed in waters up to 70 meters. Stewart has been diving since he was a young teenager.
Stewart’s sister and parents traveled to Florida after being notified of his disappearance, and are now helping manage the search party.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in case efforts are extended — the fund has already raised over $114,000.
[Image via GoFundMe.]