Agencies suspend search for Madison woman missing while diving in the Gulf

Agencies suspend search for Madison woman missing while diving in the Gulf
Walton County Sheriff's Office reports missing diver is from Madison. (Source: Walton County Sheriff's Office)

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WAFF) - The U.S. Coast Guard and Walton County Sheriff’s Office have suspended their search for a Madison woman who never resurfaced after going on a dive Sunday.

Marie Kaas
Marie Kaas (Source: Doug Lighton Photography)

Marie Kaas, 34 of Madison, never resurfaced after leaving a 26-foot catamaran in dive gear. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call shortly before noon on Sunday reporting what happened. Kaas entered the water three miles south of Grayton Beach.

Multiple agencies including Florida Fish & Wildlife, South Walton Fire, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to help in the search.

The Coast Guard searched approximately 2,284 nautical miles for a total of 97 resource hours before suspending its search. Lt. Ben Cariddi with the Coast Guard released a statement, saying in part “The decision to suspend a case is never easy. Our boat crews, cutter crews, and aircrews diligently searched the area where the diver was last seen but were unable to find the missing diver. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends during this time.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office suspended its search Wednesday, saying “We have, with heavy hearts discontinued our search.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Kaas family.

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