A 71-year-old man died while diving the Vandenberg wreck off Key West, police say

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A 71-year-old man died Tuesday after scuba diving the Vandenberg wreck off Key West.

Timothy Lee Jayne, of Indianapolis, was reported missing Tuesday afternoon, said Adam Linhardt, spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which learned of the emergency from the U.S. Coast Guard at about 4:09 p.m.

About an hour later, Jayne was found, Linhardt said.

Jayne had been diving with others off a private 45-foot catamaran called the Free Bird. Two other divers surfaced but could not find him.

Three certified rescue divers with Lost Reef Adventures, of Key West, were in the area and volunteered to search for the missing diver.

After speaking with the Coast Guard, the three dove down to the Vandenberg.

“We found him in the sand lying on his back,” said David Parkhurst, one of the rescue divers. “He was in dire straits.”

Parkhurst said they brought him to the surface, where they signaled for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers who were in a boat waiting.

FWC officers began CPR and took him to the Stock Island Yacht Club and Marina where paramedics were waiting.

Jayne was pronounced dead at 5:27 p.m. at the marina, Linhardt said.

Foul play is not expected to be a factor in the incident and autopsy results are pending, he said.

“It remains unknown what led to Jayne’s issue in the water,” Linhardt said.

The people who initially reported the emergency to the U.S Coast Guard said the site was the Joe’s Tug wreck, Linhardt said.

The popular Vandenberg wreck is a 523-foot decommissioned military missile-tracking ship named after Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg. It was intentionally sunk in May 2009 and acts as an artificial reef.

This story has been updated to correct the wreck site and where the diver was found. Initial reports to police said the diver was missing at Joe’s Tug.

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