Diver disappears while exploring Florida shipwreck

A diver disappeared Sunday while exploring a WWII-era shipwreck off the coast of Florida.

Virgil Price, 39 of West Palm Beach, vanished while free diving with a group at the site of the Halsey near the Fort Pierce Inlet — bout 130 miles north of Miami — the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said. It’s unclear how long he was underwater before he did not resurface.

The sheriff’s office and U.S. Coast Guard are still searching for him.

He was last seen wearing “a green wetsuit with an orange stripe on the hood, yellow weights on his weight belt, and black carbon fiber fins,” the sheriff’s office said.

The Halsey was taking fuel oil and gasoline from Texas to New York when it was struck by a torpedo fired from a Nazi U-boat on May 6, 1942, according to Fishing Status. The crew survived by escaping onto lifeboats but the Halsey sank and now sits in three parts about 65 feet below the surface.

“This is an incredibly difficult time, as Virgil was family to us and a dear friend to so many,” Florida Freedivers, where Price works as an instructor, said in a Monday Facebook post.

Free diving involves holding one’s breath for an extended period of time instead of using a breathing apparatus.