Coast Guard suspends search for distressed boaters in the Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. — Coast Guard Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators have suspended the search for a vessel and four people that began Sunday afternoon pending additional information.

Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators originally received a radio distress call at approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday from a boater who said he was in distress with four people aboard. The search-and-rescue coordinators were able to calculate an area where the radio call was coming from to an area between Geiger Key, Fla., and Saddle Bunch Keys, Fla., using direction-finding equipment. Coordinators later learned that the boaters may have been near Marquesas Key, Fla., and expanded the search to include both areas.

The Coast Guard conducted multiple searches across a 1,250-square-mile area near Geiger Key, Saddle Bunch Keys, and Marquesas Key with multiple assets from multiple units including:

  • Three HH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Air Station Miami
  • One HU-25 Falcon jet aircew from Air Station Miami
  • Multiple boatcrews from Coast Guard Station Key West
  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne
  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant

Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators request any information the public may have regarding the distressed boater. If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 or dial directly to 305-295-9700.

The cutter Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

The cutter Valiant is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Miami.

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