Joseph Dragojevich of Orlando vanished Thursday with his buddy by his side as the Central Florida scuba divers explored a sunken Navy ship — a popular underwater destination in the Florida Keys.
The body of the Lake County Emergency Medical Services captain was found Friday inside the artificial reef, the ex-USS Spiegel Grove, about six miles off the coast of Key Largo.
His body was found just after 1:30 p.m.
"Why? How did this happen?" his distraught mother, Vincenta Dragojevich, of Pittsburg said in a brief telephone call Friday after the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said her son was missing.
Results of an autopsy are pending.
"His equipment is also being recovered and will be examined for any information which may help detectives piece together what may have happened to him," the Sheriff's Office said in a report.
The father of two, a Lake County EMS employee for 15 years, stayed in great shape so he could do the physically exhausting dives he loved, agency spokesman Jerry Smith said.
His diving buddy, James Dorminy, 51, of Kissimmee did not want to talk about what happened, telling the Sentinel, "I told the Sheriff's Office everything I know."
The experienced divers were taken to the wreck on a Scuba-Do Dive Company boat with six others — divers who weren't interested in exploring the sunken ship without a guide, the Sheriff's Office said. But Dragojevich and Dorminy went into the water and explored the ship.
On the way up, Dragojevich signaled to Dorminy with his dive light that he was fine and the pair kept swimming.
But when he checked on his friend again, Dragojevich was gone.
The nylon "reel line" they were using to guide their return to the surface was slack.
"Dorminy searched for as long as he could but had to swim back to the surface because he was running out of air," the report said.
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