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New Photos: Family, friends spread word of missing diver in third day of search

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard say volunteers wanting to help should contact Sector Jacksonville on Channel 16.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Almost 1500 square miles are being searched Monday for a diver missing off Jacksonville's coast.

It's the third day of searching for the 37-year-old husband and father of three Tim Obi. Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard say volunteers wanting to help should contact Sector Jacksonville on Channel 16.

Friends of Obi's are at Mayport boat ramp Monday morning to give food and drinks to boaters who are helping. Posters with Obi's picture, information on who to contact, and the coordinates to search are posted around the boat ramp.

Family members say Obi went spearfishing Saturday with friends but did not return to the boat. The coordinates of his last known location are more than 40 miles offshore.


U.S. Coast Guard Captain Mark Vlaun says they got hundreds of calls over the weekend and dozens of people have been searching. 

"The good news that we have in the search is a couple things," Vlaun told First Coast News. "First of all, we knew exactly where he was at the time when he went missing. We had really good fidelity on that. We also had very good search conditions. Weather has been very helpful to us. We also have very little drift."

 Vlaun says Obi was well-prepared and had a dive buoy and a flag with him.

"Right now the surface is really where the emphasis of the search is," Vlaun said. "Because if Mr. Obi is on the surface and if he surfaced outside of the boat, that's really our primary area in trying to find him if he's out there drifting."

On Sunday there were more than 10 private vessels helping in the search. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Marine Unit and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue officers conducted sonar scans of the seafloor. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers searched with at least three boats and an aircraft.

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The Coast Guard says to look for a dive flag and inflatable buoy that were reported with Obi.

Boaters who were on the water Saturday, the day Obi went missing, say the water was rough. Boaters Monday say they're keeping a lookout for him.

"Any time there's an emergency or anything going on on the water we all kind of chip in together," said Capt. Jeremy Alvarez, a charter captain heading out on his boat Monday. "It's a pretty tight-knit community so we're all definitely looking after each other."

Stay with First Coast News as the search continues.

RELATED: Search continues for missing diver off Jacksonville's coast