A crowdfunding page aimed at locating Canadian director Rob Stewart—who went missing Tuesday afternoon while diving in the Florida Keys—has raised nearly $100,000 in just over 24 hours, and is now just $30,000 short of its goal.
According the National Post, 37-year-old Stewart—director of hit documentary Sharkwater, which exposed the global corruption of the world's shark-hunting market—disappeared around 5:15PM while near Alligator Reef, where he was underwater filming the Queen of Nassau shipwreck.
At the time of his disappearance, Stewart's sister says that one of his diving partners lost consciousness and had to be recovered by the team's boat. In the commotion, the boat lost sight of Stewart, but the sister is optimistic the filmmaker may still be alive due to the calm weather and the quick response on the part of the community.
"We've learned that people can survive for more than 72 hours in this water because it's warm, which is wonderful news," she said.
"The conditions are bright and calm, which is perfect for searching. … I'm hanging on to the good news we're hearing."
While the US Coast Guard has deployed a small team consisting of a cutter, a boat, a helicopter, and a small plane to look for Stewart, the crowdfunding page setup by Stewart's family is said to pay for the expenses of as many private volunteers as possible to help assist in the search effort.
One of the more notable individuals involved in the the family's search is marine activist Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society—a direct-to-action anti-poaching group that became notorious for its uses of physical force to stop Japanese whaling fleets. Watson said on Instagram that they are co-operating with the Coast Guard and trying not to get in the way of their search.
Follow Jake Kivanc on Twitter.
Lead image via GoFundMe page.