Authorities call off search for missing American free diver in Bahamas


(NEW YORK) — The United States Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defense Force called off its search on Sunday for an American free diver who went missing off the coast of Bimini, Bahamas.

Ryan Proulx, 31, was last seen near the Bimini Barge Wreck on Friday, a diving location roughly 1.5 miles west of Bimini Inlet, according to the Coast Guard.

After aircraft crews searched over 673 square miles for Proulx, the Coast Guard suspended the search on Sunday afternoon.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Proulx family,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matt Spado said in a statement on Twitter. “The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is one we never take lightly.”

Proulx traveled from Palm Beach, Florida, to the Bahamas last Thursday with a group including his wife, according to his friend Steve Diffenbacher, who spoke with ABC affiliate WBPF-TV. An experienced diver and licensed captain, Proulx would frequently make the trip down the East Coast for clients who wanted to transport their boats, according to Diffenbacher.

According to the Coast Guard, Proulx was last seen wearing a green top and red fins while free diving at the Bimini barge wreck. Located nearly 75 feet under the surface with strong currents, the wrecked barge-turned-artificial reef attracts large game fish, which cluster near the shipwreck and a nearby drop-off, according to Scuba Schools International.

Proulx previously served as a police officer with the East Hartford Police and Monroe Police Departments, according to a release from the East Hartford Police Department. A representative for the East Hartford Police Department could not be reached for comment about Proulx’s disappearance.

Proulx’s family declined to make a public statement about the search.

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