Man lost at sea was police suspect

A rescue effort on land, air and sea was under way on Wednesday for a 33-year-old man who dived into rough seas and was swept away by the current after a police chase.

A search involving the police helicopter and marine units was called off Tuesday night because of the severe weather conditions and resumed Wednesday morning.

Officers scouring the shoreline for signs of the missing man, Anthony Smith, found shoes and a cell phone, but as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the 33-year-old had not been located.

It was just before 10 p.m. Tuesday when officers on patrol in West Bay spotted Mr. Smith, who is wanted in connection with multiple alleged offenses, in a stationary car near the Alfresco Restaurant.

As the officers approached, he got out of the car, ran, and dived into the water.

What began as a police chase quickly turned into a rescue mission as rough seas and strong tide took hold.

The Air Operations Unit was called out, but the search was aborted as rain from a tropical weather system lashed the island.

The storm caused choppy seas and heavy rain throughout the night. Concern was growing for Mr. Smith on Wednesday, with officers attempting, without success, to locate family members to establish if he had been in touch since late Tuesday.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr. Smith was the subject of a warrant for failing to appear in court and was wanted on suspicion of drug offenses.

The statement around noon Wednesday said, “Marine, air operations and uniform staff are currently carrying out searches under the direction of a search coordinator. A shoreline search and other inquiries are ongoing at this time.”

The missing man is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, of large built, with light complexion and wavy hair, usually in plaits.

Anyone who has seen Mr. Smith since 9.50 p.m. on Tuesday is asked to contact their nearest police station as a matter of urgency.