The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have called off their search and recovery mission for missing comic book inker Norman Lee.
The 44-year-old Lee, a resident of Weymouth, MA, and a frequent contributor to Marvel comics such as Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and Wolverine & The X-Men, went missing the morning of Thursday, March 5th while snorkeling with his wife near their hotel, the Reef Resort East End. About 250 yards from shore, the couple became separated, and Lee's wife immediately filed a report upon returning to shore.
Though we initially reported a rescue operation was underway into Saturday based on a story from Boston's WCVB, Cayman 27 (via Comicbook.com) reports that search and recovery operations began and ended late Friday afternoon.
“We put all assets available to us, both law enforcement and privately owned," said Police Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks. We thank all those who assisted us in this time of need. Unfortunately we were unable to find or recover Mr. Lee.” The Joint Marine Unit, a team combining Police, Customs, and Immigration, sent two vessels, while three were sent by the Department of Environment. A dozen volunteer divers joined the search along with the Marine Enforcement Unit, Cayman Helicopter, and a handful of local water sport operators.
“The currents in that area are strong and it is unlikely that we will make any recovery at this stage," the police said in a statement. While Marine enforcement vessels remain stationed in the area, active search and recovery orders were withdrawn at 6:00pm local time on Friday, March 6th. Authorities are also still encouraging people in the area to call in any sightings of interests.
According to NECN, Lee's wife has given her final statement on the incident and has departed the island.