Gov. Gregoire issues statement on missing DNR diver

Gov. Chris Gregoire shared her condolences Wednesday with the family of the diver who went missing off the southern end of Bainbridge Island Tuesday.

David D. Scheinost, 24, of Puyallup is presumed dead after he told other members of his dive team from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources that he was in trouble and then disappeared in the waters off of South Beach.

A search-and-rescue operation led by the Coast Guard and local emergency responders was launched Tuesday afternoon but failed to find Scheinost. The search, led by the Bainbridge Island Police Department, continued Wednesday.

Gregoire issued a statement on the missing diver Wednesday.

“Mike and I send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Department of Natural Resources diver David Scheinost who is missing and presumed dead following a dive inspection yesterday afternoon. He was performing work that served the people of Washington state and for that he will not be forgotten," Gregoire said.

“His family and friends, his fellow divers and the entire DNR family are in my heart as we remember David and his service,” she said.

Toni Droscher, a DNR spokeswoman, said Scheinost had been with a team of other DNR divers who sampling for paralytic shellfish poisoning on the Restoration Point geoduck tract, an area of wildstock geoduck fishery managed by the state.

The group was using a DNR vessel southwest of Restoration Point, and the testing is routine and done on a weekly basis, Droscher said.

Droscher said any memorial that will be held will be done at the direction of the Scheinost family.

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