Beloved Longview chiropractor missing after shark dive in Bahamas, crews find dive gear
POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 10:40am
UPDATED: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 10:32am
West End, Bahamas (KETK) — A beloved Longview chiropractor has gone missing after a shark dive 20 nautical miles off the coast of the Bahamas.
Coast Guard 7th District command center watchstanders were contacted by the captain aboard the commercial dive vessel "Shear Water," off the coast of West End, Bahamas, late Sunday night, stating Dr. John Petty, 63, went shark diving with eight others and he never resurfaced.
On Tuesday afternoon, the USCG said a mask was found during the deep sea search, although it is not confirmed whether or not the mask belongs to Dr. Petty.
The Coast Guard immediately launched multiple air and sea assets that have been searching since. Currently on scene supporting Bahamian authorities and searching are the crews aboard:
◾Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin, homeported in Miami, Florida.
◾Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft.
◾Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter.
An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was also issued.
KETK will update information as soon as it is available.
In addition to being a well-respected chiropractor in Longview, Petty is an award-winning adventure photographer.This weekend, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts is opening an exhibit featuring some of Petty's works from his last trip to Africa.
Museum Director Renee Hawkins says the exhibit will be hard given the circumstances, but still special.
"We're happy to show his work," said Hawkins. "We obviously thought he was museum-worthy by asking him to be in this show, so he's special to us and this is special to us."