May 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Body of Kitsap spear fisherman found off Blake Island
Divers Monday evening located the body of missing 59-year-old spearfisherman Gerard Martin Hall in the area off Blake Island where he disappeared Sunday morning.
Kitsap County Deputy Scott Wilson said 16 Navy divers, half from Naval Base Kitsap at Bangor and half from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, assisted the search and located Hall’s body in 34 feet of water just before 6:30 p.m.
Hall was reported missing Sunday after he surfaced from a dive, called for help, then disappeared under the water.
Dive crews from the Seattle Fire Department, South Kitsap Fire & Rescue and Port Orchard police, as well as a Coast Guard helicopter did not succeed in finding him Sunday before the search was called off because of deteriorating weather and poor visibility.
Hall, of the Central Kitsap Peninsula, was part of a group diving and spearfishing off the south end of Blake Island, which is located between Vashon and Bainbridge islands. The divers were in about 30 feet of water and were supplied with air via air lines from their boat.
Hall had been fishing with a 38-year-old partner about 40 feet offshore, when his partner landed a fish. Both divers surfaced, but Hall yelled that he needed help. His partner swam to him to offer assistance, but Hall soon slipped under the water.
Wilson said the body has not been positively identified as Hall, but there is no reason to think it is anybody else. The final determination will be made by the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office, where a pathologist will conduct an autopsy.
Hall’s dive equipment will be sent to forensic experts who will look for anything out of the ordinary, Wilson said.
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