ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard continues the search for a sailboat with a father and his three teenage children after finding a debris field Wednesday.
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 departing out of Sarasota on Sunday morning enroute to Fort Myers.
At approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday, an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, located a debris field 37 miles west of Sanibel, Florida. The debris field contained 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 and intensifying search efforts in this area.
At 12:35 p.m. 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 corroborate all of the debris to the on-going search for the missing sailboat.
“Finding the kayak and life jackets signals that we are in a dire situation,” said Captain Greg Case, Commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We are continuing to keep in very close contact with the family and keep them updated on all developments during this difficult time. Locating the debris inside of our search field indicates that we are in the right area, and we are aggressively searching for Ace, Becky, Donny and Roger.”
All available air and surface resources have been assigned to the search effort including both helicopter and fix-wing aircrews from Air Station Clearwater, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Customs and Border Protection. Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, Station Fort Myers Beach, and Station Cortez are actively searching as well.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County Sheriff’s Office are also aiding in the search. We are working together with these partners to saturate the search area with resources and update our search plan as more information becomes available.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the Kimberly family is asked to contact the Coast Guard in St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.