Missing diver found dead off Manasota Beach

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VENICE- Officials are still piecing together what happened early Thursday morning when a diver went missing. What was supposed to be just another diving trip for the 61 year old, diver became a tragic search.

The Sarasota county Sheriff’s office responded to a missing diver off of Manasota Key Road.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office tells us James Little a resident of Venice, was in a group of four, diving offshore of Manasota Beach. Multiple agencies responded to the scene when Little was reported missing.

“This was a multi-agency response because members of the Venice fire department, Venice police department, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Unite States Coast Guard and FWC all responded,” said Kaitlyn Perez, of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

The Venice Fire Department located Little in the Gulf of Mexico

“The initial report for a diver that was missing,” said Perez. “ Unfortunately the diver has been recovered and he is deceased”

The boat operator made the initial call to report Little missing. Investigators are still determining if the three divers were together when Little went missing.

“I’m not sure if all three were still in the water, or if the other two had come back to the surface were on board on the vessel,” said Perez.

The two other divers are OK, Perez says Little was not new to diving. The Sheriff’s Department encourages divers to know the condition of the water and stay together…

“We would encourage folks if they’re going to go out in the water to go out in pairs, or go with multiple people,” Perez said. “These individuals did the right thing, they were all together and luckily like I said two of them are ok. But our thoughts are just with Mr. Little’s family, I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.”