Rescuers searching for a father and his three children who vanished off the Florida coast have recovered one body, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The identity of the remains was not immediately available, but Coast Guard Capt. Gregory Case told a news conference that searchers were now looking for three members of the Kimberly family, not four. Case added that the victim who was recovered was wearing a life vest.
Ace Kimberly, his daughter Rebecca, 17, and sons Donny, 15, and Roger, 13, haven’t been heard from since Sunday afternoon, when Ace phoned his brother to report the family had been caught up in six-foot waves and were “attempting to survive.”
The family were sailing to Fort Myers from Sarasota to have repairs done on the boat. Ace’s brother contacted the Coast Guard Tuesday after the family failed to reach their destination.
Earlier Wednesday, rescuers spotted a green kayak believed to belong to the family near the quartet’s last-known position. A seperate debris field about 33 miles off the coast of South Florida contained a tarp, four water bottles that had been tied together, a pair of tennis shoes, a basketball, a propane tank and six life jackets.
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“We’re searching in a particular spot,” Case said Wednesday afternoon. “We kind of have tracked their voyage and where they should be, and we’ve backdrifted that.”
The U.S. Coast Guard launched a HC-130 Hercules airplane from Clearwater, and several other vessels from Stations Cortez and Fort Myers, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson told the News-Press. The Maritime Emergency Response Team had also been activated.
The 29-foot boat did not have a name or a radio, CBS reported. Case said officials never received a distress call.
He said the Kimberly family was “feeling very anxious and upset, and they’re hoping for the best.”
Mariners with any information were asked to contact the Coast Guard’s St. Petersburg sector at 727-824-7506.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.