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May 20, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Search halted for the night for spearfisherman missing near Blake Island

update: 9:26 p.m.

Darkness forced rescue crews on Sunday evening to abandon the search for a 59-year-old spearfisherman who went missing while diving in Puget Sound off  Blake Island.

Gerard Martin Hall, of the central Kitsap Peninsula, was reported missing at 11:49 a.m. when he surfaced after diving, called for help, and then disappeared under the water.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn said the man was part of a group diving and spearfishing off the south end of the island, located between Vashon and Bainbridge islands. The divers were fishing 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 from Blake Island, 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’s body soon slipped under the water.

Hall was not tethered to his rescue buoy, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Dive crews from the Seattle Fire Department, South Kitsap Fire & Rescue and Port Orchard police, as well as a Coast Guard helicopter, had not found the man by 6 p.m. Sunday, when the search was called off because of deteriorating weather conditions and poor visibility.

Rescue crews had not yet decided how or when they would resume the search.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Blake Island, Coast Guard, diver

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