YANKEETOWN, Fla.— The Coast Guard suspended the search for a man, Sunday, after he went missing near Cedar Key, Florida, Friday.
Gilbert Valdes, 54, from Eldersburg, Maryland was reported missing Friday night, along with his brother, Garrick Valdes, 50, from Locust Grove, Virginia, and friend Bruce Smith from Alachua, Florida. The Coast Guard rescued Garrick Valdes and Smith from their capsized 23-foot boat Saturday morning.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Gilbert,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida. “Suspending the search is never an easy decision to make, but despite our best efforts, we were unable to locate Mr. Valdes.”
At 10:05 p.m., Friday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report stating the three men had left Alachua at 5:30 a.m. via truck and trailer and never returned.
At 3 a.m. Saturday officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the truck and trailer were at the Cedar Key boat ramp.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and an HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, and a 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, Florida, were launched to commence the search.
At 7:25 a.m. Saturday the Jayhawk rescue crew located Garrick Valdes and Smith aboard the capsized boat six miles south of Sea Horse Key, Florida. The men were hoisted and transported to EMS at Cedar Key airport
The Coast Guard continued the search for Gilbert Valdes alongside FWC, Levy County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Key Fire and Rescue. Coast Guard units searched 2,852 miles during 12 searches covering 3,468 square nautical miles west of Cedar Key.
FWC is leading the investigation.