It was supposed to be the dream mother/son trip of a lifetime, but it ended in tragedy for a well-known Vernon family.
Gloria Miller and her son obtained their diving certifications in Vernon before travelling to Puerto Vallarta for an exciting diving excursion.
The pair were participating in their their first dive at Los Arcos, a popular snorkel and dive location in the Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta on the morning of Feb. 15.
They were diving with a well known reputable company Banderas Scuba Republic (BSR) according to Miller’s husband, David Chambers.
Chambers said Miller had equipment issues near the end of the group’s dive and headed to the surface under the direction and guidance of the Dive Master.
He said that as a result of miscommunication and “numerous extraordinary circumstances,” Miller was separated from the group and never found.
Upon learning of the disappearance, Chambers and his daughter flew to Mexico.
He said the ocean is an amazing part of nature, but it is “an unforgiving environment that can snatch a life in a heartbeat.”
Search efforts quickly gained momentum with the coordinated efforts of search and rescue, the Navy, dive company, volunteers, family members and contracted aircraft.
After four days of extensive search efforts, searchers said it was unlikely Miller would be found.
Chambers said he was told by the Canadian Consulate that while the formal search is concluded, the bay where his wife went missing will still be patrolled with one boat.
“The outpouring of support by our families, friends, and even from strangers who offered help was heartwarming and we truly appreciate everything,” Chambers said in an email to Global Okanagan on Tuesday.
Miller “was an extraordinary woman who touched the lives of our families and all those that knew her. She was/is our sunshine,” he said.
A statement from Global Affairs Canada said consular officials are in contact with local authorities in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico “who are actively searching for the missing Canadian.”
“Consular officials are providing assistance to the family in Canada and Mexico during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with the family and friends anxiously waiting for news,” spokesperson Philip Hannan said.
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