Search called off for snorkeler missing off East End


Police have called off a sea search for a man from the United States who went missing while snorkeling off East End Thursday.  

The man is the third tourist to die or go missing in that area this year. 

Norman Lee, 47, has worked as an artist for Marvel Comics and DC Comics for 20 years. Friends and family of missing man described him as an avid comics fan and someone dedicated to his family and his work. He is no relation to Stan Lee, former president of Marvel Comics. 

Mr. Lee went missing while snorkeling with his wife off the Reef Resort on Thursday morning when the two became separated. The woman swam back to shore when she couldn’t find her husband and raised the alarm about 11.20 a.m. She told authorities they were about 250 yards off shore near the channel through the reef.  

The marine police unit and Department of Environment boats, joined by local dive boats and Wave Runners scoured the waters off East End Thursday. Police put out a call late Thursday for volunteer divers to help in the search. The police helicopter is currently out of action but Cayman Islands Helicopters, which typically offers scenic tours to visitors, provided aerial support to the search. Friday afternoon, police said, the search operating turned into a search and recovery effort. 

Eight divers volunteered to help Friday, with search efforts staged out of Tortuga Divers, the Morritt’s dive shop. Police called off the search as the sun went down Friday. “The currents in that area are strong and it is unlikely that we will make any recovery at this stage,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks.  

Mr. Ebanks said that from 6 p.m. Friday, the search was stood down “from an active search to calls of sightings of interest and continued marine enforcement vessels in the area.” 

Police spokesman Adrian Seales said Mr. Lee was last seen wearing white beach shorts, black and blue fins and clear goggles. 

Mr. Lee, an “inker” who puts ink to the pencil sketches in comic books, has lived in Weymouth, near Boston, with Jan, his wife of five years, according to colleagues quoted by the Boston Globe newspaper.  

On Wednesday evening, the night before he went missing, Mr. Lee posted a photo to Facebook from the Reef Resort looking out over the sea as the sun went down. Since then, friends, colleagues and fans have posted words of hope and condolences on Mr. Lee’s Facebook page. 

The man is the third tourist to die or go missing in that area this year. 


Norman Lee, at his home near Boston, Massachusetts. – PHOTO: GARY HIGGINS/THE PATRIOT LEDGER


Norman Lee, a comic artist with DC and Marvel Comics, went missing while snorkeling off the Reef Resort on Thursday. – Photo: GARY HIGGINS/The Patriot Ledger
GARY HIGGINS/The Patriot Ledger


  1. So sorry to hear this.
    My condolences to the family and thanks to those who tried so hard to save or recover him.

    Visitors should be warned how strong the currents can be at East End.

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