Clearwater Beach, Florida -- A sad search for a father believed to be deadafter he was seen yelling for help off the shore of Sand Key has been called off.
Divers are working from a boat coasting back and forth near Bayside Park on the northern end of Sand Key, which faces Clearwater Harbor and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The challenges divers are dealing with as they search Tuesday may be the same reason 27-year-old James Poindexter went under and didn't come back up on Monday.
Divers say the water here is shallow from the shoreline, out to about 20 yards. Then it drops quickly.
There's a zone where the water may be up to someone's waist -- then three feet further out, it's up over their head. It's that ledge where divers have been focusing their efforts Monday morning.
With a promise to search until his divers reach their limits, Clearwater Fire Rescue's Kent Watts has sent off team after team from the banks of Bayside Park.
Family members stood watching helplessly from shore.
"With the SONAR in the fire boat, we'll be going back and forth -- 'mowing the lawn,' if you will -- in the area," explained Watts, the chief of special operations for Clearwater Fire Rescue.
"Whenever they pick up a point of interest, we'll put a diver in the water, have him search that and mark that, and then we'll continue our search."
They're working outward from the same area they searched Monday, just minutes after 27-year-old James Poindexter struggled and shouted, then slipped under the surface.
Witnesses said Poindexter had been in waist-or chest-deep water on a Labor Day swim with his family.
"There's a lot of water trying to go out to the Gulf from the Intracoastal, so there's a great deal of water flowing through this area, and this creates a great deal of current," Watts said.
Watts says those currents could carry Poindexter's body far from here by Tuesday afternoon -- and that's the time he'll likely call off the search if they've had no success.
How long they search depends on how often the divers go into the water. Each diver has a maximum amount of what they call "bottom time," or time spent on the floor of the harbor.
For safety reasons, Watts says once they all hit their limits, they have to wrap up for the day.