For Immediate Release - May 20, 2009

Body Of Diver Recovered Off The Coast Of Gloucester

The body of diver Paul Blanchette, Jr., 49, of 35 Intervale Avenue, Dracut, was recovered at about noontime today three miles off the coast of Gloucester.

The Beverly Fire Department Dive Rescue Team and the Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Unit had been searching for Blanchette, who was reported missing at about 4 p.m. Monday.

He had failed to surface from diving on the wreck Chester Poland, which rests in 85-95 of water. He was diving from the vessel Secret Spots, which is docked in Beverly. A total of six people were aboard Secret Spots, four of whom were divers.

An autopsy will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston to determine the cause of death. In addition, State Police will make arrangements to have Blanchette's equipment inspected to determine whether it was functioning properly.

Foul play is not suspected, but investigators will await the autopsy results before making a final determination.

The death is being investigated by Gloucester Police and State Police detectives assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Also assisting in the search for Mr. Blanchette during the last two days were the Coast Guard, Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Rockport Harbormaster.