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Posted by dwill on January 23, 2006 at 09:36:17:

January 23, 2006, 11:02 AM EST

COLLINS LANDING, N.Y. (AP) _ The remains of a scuba diver believed to have been missing for decades were found in the St. Lawrence River.

Recreational divers found the remains, covered with soot and zebra mussels, on Sunday in the narrows between Wellesley Island the American bank of the river, about 20 miles north of Watertown.

State Police Investigator Michael Marvin said it will likely take a couple of days, if not more, to identify the body. He said what is left of it _ a skull and upper torso bones _ appears to have been preserved by the cool water.

"We may have some possible DNA, but that's up for the doctor to make the call," he said.

A trio of divers were on their way back to the surface when they came upon a tubular object sticking up out of river's floor, about 140 feet down.

"I almost passed it up, but it looked out of place," diver John Krake told the Watertown Daily Times.

After scraping off zebra mussels, he found a yellow oxygen tank.

"I thought, 'My goodness, I've found somebody's gear here,"' he said.

He tugged on the tank and very quickly realized it was more than scuba equipment. He saw bones in a partial wet suit, which was entangled in a diving line.

The Times' archives lists one instance of a missing diver from the '80s in that area. Brett W. Schirmer, 21, of Rochester, went missing in August 1981. Schirmer and a companion were searching for a ship wreck.

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