MELVILLE, N.Y. – A 27-year-old man from Gardena, Calif., became the 16th person to die diving on the sunken Italian liner Andrea Doria when he slipped from a dive rope just feet above the wreck Sunday morning and was later found dead on the ocean floor, police and authorities said.

The body of Michael A. LaPrade was recovered from about 225 feet of water near the wreck, about 40 miles south of Nantucket Island, East Hampton Town police Lt. Chris Anderson said Wednesday.

Anderson said LaPrade and at least one partner went into the water at about 8 a.m. Sunday and said that, somewhere within sight of the wreck, LaPrade slipped from the line connected to the dive boat.

“He’s last seen down in close proximity to the wreck when his buddy loses sight of him,” Anderson said. “A cursory search is done by this individual, but he isn’t located.”

Anderson said the decompression time necessary for returning the surface from that depth is about three hours and said that, once back on the surface, others on the vessel realized LaPrade was missing — and a search team was sent back to look for him.

The death at the infamous dive site is the first since Aug. 1, 2008, when a 38-year-old Houston man died there.

The deteriorating Italian liner, which sank in 1956, lies on its side and is considered to be the Mount Everest of dive sites — dangerous because of the condition of the wreck and because the icy depths where it lies are considered well below the safe limit for recreational divers.