Ohio diver found dead in Lake Erie

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The 70-year-old founder of an underwater explorer nonprofit that documents shipwrecks in Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes died over the weekend while making a trip below the surface.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as 70-year-old David Michael VanZandt of Lakewood, Ohio. 

His body was pulled from the water at East 9th Street Pier, the medical examiner’s office told Fox News Digital. 

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard announced a search was underway for the missing diver in Lake Erie, six miles away from Cleveland. The body was recovered a short time later. 


Cleveland skyline from Lake Erie

David VanZandt, the 70-year-old founder of an underwater explorer nonprofit that documents shipwrecks in Lake Erie, was found dead in the water Saturday.  (Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)

VanZandt was the co-founder and director of Cleveland Underwater Explorers Inc. (CLUE), which researches, explores and documents shipwrecks and “submerged cultural heritage” in the Great Lakes, according to its website.

He was on his first trip of the year when he was diving on a “newly found shipwreck,” the group said in a Facebook post. 


“Our condolences to his wife and family,” the group said. Fox News Digital has reached out to CLUE for comment.

VanZandt began his diving career in 1995 and began searching and finding shipwrecks off his boat, the “Sea Dragon,” in 2001 when he co-founded CLUE, his biography states on the website. 

Cleveland skyline from Edgewater Park

Lake Erie with the Cleveland skyline in the background.  (Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)

The R/V Sea Dragon is one of two vessels used by the group to search for underwater shipwrecks. 

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