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American Divers Missing Down Under

February 1, 1998

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ Volunteers joined police Sunday in searching beaches for an American couple accidentally left behind on a scuba diving trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

There has been no sign of Thomas and Eileen Lonergan since they disappeared Jan. 22. An intense air and sea search was called off Friday.

The Baton Rouge., La., couple were part of a group of 26 people diving off the Great Barrier Reef, a series of coral islands, reefs and shoals off eastern Australia.

The two were apparently left behind by the dive boat. They were not immediately missed and police were not alerted until Tuesday, more than 48 hours later. Sunday’s search found no sign of them.

In San Diego, Mrs. Lonergan’s father, John Hains, said the family thought searchers had made a ``great effort,″ and had no plans for legal action against the dive company.

Hains said the people who ran the charter to the reef would carry the burden of guilt, and that was enough.

``Their lives are going to be wrecked ... my heart and prayers go out to them,″ he said.

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