Diver Called His Mom Before He Disappeared Near Florida Shipwreck: 'He Told Me I Was His Inspiration'

Virgil Price III was last seen in the water off the coast of Florida on a free diving expedition with two others on May 12

<p>Facebook</p> The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for Virgil Price III after looking for the Florida man for 36 hours.


The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for Virgil Price III after looking for the Florida man for 36 hours.

A 39-year-old man called his mom just before he vanished while free diving near a shipwreck off the coast of Florida.

Virgil Price III was last seen on the morning of Sunday, May 12, nine miles off Jensen Beach, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement posted on X.

After searching for Price for 36 hours over a distance of more than 1,400 miles, the Coast Guard announced the night of May 12 that they had suspended rescue efforts for the West Palm Beach man.

“The decision to suspend an active search is never taken lightly,” Lt. Com. John Beal said in the statement. “We extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Price’s family.”

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According to NBC affiliate WPTV, Price was last seen diving near the World War II-era Hasley shipwreck.

The Coast Guard told the outlet that Price was with two other divers when the incident occurred.

"Three went down and only two came back up to the surface," Petty Officer Ryan Estrada told WPTV.

Rescuers, including those with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, were hampered by the conditions in the area where Price went missing, one expert told the news station.

"Visibility tends not to be so good in that area,” diving expert Paul Seldes told WPTV. “It's pretty prone to some pretty strong currents, so the diving there is difficult to begin with, then add in the hazards of sharp rusty metal from the wreck itself. It's a popular fishing area so there's a lot of fishing line and entanglement hazards around the wreck."

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Just a day before he left for what turned out to be his last diving expedition, Price made a special call to his mom on Mother’s Day.

"He called me in the morning, and he told me I was his inspiration," Price’s mother Kate Cerasaro told ABC affiliate WPBF-TV. "I mean, it was the most wonderful phone call."

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Florida Freedivers said in a Facebook post on Monday that it has been "an incredibly difficult time," noting Price was "family to us and a dear friend to so many."

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