ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard continues the search for a sailboat with a father and his three teenage children after finding a kayak and spotting a white flare Thursday.
Missing are Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three children – Rebecca Kimberly, 17, Donald Kimberly, 15, and Roger Kimberly, 13.
The family was last heard from Sunday afternoon after they departed Sarasota Sunday morning en route to Fort Myers.
At approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday, an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, located debris 37 miles west of Sanibel, Florida. The debris included items such as water jugs, tarps, six life jackets, a throwable life ring, a propane tank, a pair of shoes and a basketball. Surface assets are investigating the debris.
At 12:35 p.m. Wednesday Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach located a green sit-in kayak in the vicinity of the original debris field matching the description of a kayak known to be with the family. The Coast Guard was able to attribute all of the debris to the ongoing search for the missing sailboat.
At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, an MH-60 Helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater located and recovered a body approximately 40 nautical miles west of Sanibel. The body was transferred to local authorities for identification.
At 1:15 a.m. Thursday an HC130-Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Air Station Clearwater located a yellow kayak matching the description of a kayak also known to be with the family.
At 2:26 a.m. Thursday a Jayhawk crew and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew witnessed a white flare while conducting the search.
“We remain hopeful we’ll find survivors,” said Capt. Greg Case, commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We continue to keep close contact with the family and keep them updated on all developments during this difficult time.”
Crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach and Coast Guard Station Cortez, helicopter and fix-wing aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Customs and Border Protection are searching for the family.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Air Force are also aiding in the search.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the Kimberly family is asked to contact the Coast Guard in St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.