Family gathers amid diver search

A vessell returns from the search of Dawesville yesterday. Picture: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

Worried family and friends of a scuba diver missing since Saturday kept vigil at Mandurah yesterday as a search continued offshore for the 39-year-old.

Authorities will keep scouring the ocean today for the experienced recreational diver and said yesterday it was too early to speculate about what had happened after the man vanished while diving for rock lobster with friends about 5km off Dawesville Cut.

Four others on the boat raised the alarm about 1.30pm when he failed to resurface from his second dive of the day.

Water Police Sen. Const. Rob Jennings said two friends in the water at the time did not see what happened to him.

Several friends and relatives waited for news at the water police base in Mandurah yesterday.

Others turned to Facebook, with one writing, "Come on mate hang in there", while another said, "I'm praying for you buddy".

A friend wrote: "Hope they find him, Mandurah will not be the same without him, he was such a good bloke, always made me laugh."

Bad weather, including strong squalls, 3m swells and a strong undercurrent, has hampered the search but authorities managed to cover nearly 300sqkm of ocean by sea and air.

None of the man's scuba gear had been found by late yesterday.

The diving group - the missing man, a relative and three friends - had been anchored about 5.5km north-west of the Dawesville Cut and were diving to a depth of 10m.

Sen. Const. Jennings said the divers were within 10m of the anchored boat. "I don't think the conditions at the time they were diving were that bad," he said.

"They did deteriorate later."

Police said the missing man's oxygen would have expired by the time rescuers reached the area.

Friends on the boat stayed anchored in the area until Saturday evening.

"There is no evidence . . . that a shark has been involved," Sen. Const. Jennings said.

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