Underwater Explorer Dead After 'Diving on a Newly Found Shipwreck' in Lake Eerie, Coast Guard Says

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as 70-year-old David VanZandt of Lakewood

<p>Getty</p> A shot of Lake Erie in Cleveland


A shot of Lake Erie in Cleveland

The body of an apparently skilled diver has been found in Lake Erie, according to authorities.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Great Lakes Division announced the search on X (formerly Twitter) for the missing diver on Saturday, June 1.

Divers from Lake County who responded to the scene “recovered a body” from the water around 7:45 p.m. local time that same day, and “confirmed it to be the missing man.”

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as 70-year-old David VanZandt of Lakewood, according to Cleveland.com and FOX affiliate WJW.

Related: 73-Year-Old Man Is Latest Death at Lake Lanier After Falling from Fishing Boat

VanZandt, co-founder and director of Cleveland Underwater Explorers Inc. (CLUE), was “diving on a newly found shipwreck” during his first diving trip of the year when he “failed to return to the boat,” according to a statement from the non-profit organization.

“Our condolences to his wife and family,” Cleveland Underwater Explorers said.

VanZandt founded CLUE alongside Kevin Magee in 2001, according to the non-profit corporation’s website.

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Members of the group are said to be “dedicated to researching, locating, exploring and documenting the shipwrecks and submerged cultural heritage of the Great Lakes,” especially in Lake Erie.

Before CLUE, VanZandt worked as a Senior Principal Engineer for ZIN Technologies, Inc., where he specialized in space flight hardware for NASA Glenn Research Center.

He had more than 40 years of experience “designing, building, testing and operating fluids and combustion experiments on the Space Shuttle, sounding rocket and International Space Station.”

Related: Mom and Daughter Dead, 4 Others Left 'Clinging' to Vessel After Wave Hits Fishing Boat on Louisiana Lake

VanZandt’s diving career began in 1995. CLUE said VanZandt’s Cleveland-based boat, the R/V Sea Dragon, is supposedly one of the two main vessels used to conduct the aforementioned searches.

CLUE did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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