The body of Canadian filmmaker and marine biologist Rob Stewart, who had gone missing after he went for a deep sea scuba diving session, was recovered from the Florida Keys, the US Coast Guard has confirmed.
Stewart was 37, and had gone for the scuba dive on Tuesday. He was visiting the wreck of the Queen of Nassau, and was in the area filming a sequel to his documentary Sharkwater. Stewart’s body was recovered on Friday, reports variety.com.
He was underwater to find a very rare sawfish. Shy by nature sawfish hides upon hearing any sound. So use of a conventional scuba diving gear was out of question for Rob. Instead he was using a rebreather, a device that turns the carbon dioxide exhaled back into oxygen, hence no sound or bubbles that would scare off the sawfish. Stewart with his filming partner took his deepest dive in the water, and resurfaced.
He gave Ok sign to his crew on-board, but his partner began to lose consciousnesses. The crew began the process to save him, and when they looked back at the water for Stewart, he was no where to be found.
The news comes after days of rescue operations. The Coast Guard took volunteer help, as did film distributor D Films, which worked with Stewart and considered him a “dear friend” of the company. “If you have a boat with searchlights, please help,” a tweet for D Film’s account read, among other calls for help and re-tweeted articles and videos about the search.
Stewart was best known for directing and producing the 2006 film Sharkwater, a critically-acclaimed conservation film that helped get shark finning banned worldwide. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and won 31 awards internationally.
His family posted a message on the Sharkwater website. It read, “Rob has been found, peacefully in the ocean. There are no words. We are so deeply grateful to everyone who helped search, and happy that Rob passed while doing what he loved. We are working on how best to honour his incredible work. The Stewart family kindly asks that they are given some private time to grieve. Thank you everyone.”