ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing Sarasota family Saturday.
Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three children – Rebecca Kimberly, 17, Donald Kimberly, 15, and Roger Kimberly, 13 – were last heard from Sunday afternoon after departing Sarasota en route to Fort Myers.
The Coast Guard alongside partner agencies conducted more than 100 searches covering 33,830 square miles for more than 250 hours in search for the missing family.
“I made the very difficult decision to suspend the active search operations for the Kimberly family,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Commander. “It is with a heavy heart and sincere condolences to the family and friends that I do this. This is probably the most difficult decision I ever have to make in this position.”
On Tuesday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report from Ace Kimberly’s brother stating the family left Sarasota at 7 a.m. Sunday en-route to Fort Myers to repair their 29-foot sailboat.
Later Sunday, at approximately 3 p.m., Ace Kimberly called his brother and stated the sailboat was in 6-foot seas offshore of Englewood, and requested a weather report.
On Tuesday, an HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, a 29-foot Response Boat Small-II boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Cortez, Florida, and the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator were launched to commence the search.
Also, station Fort Myers Beach activated the Maritime Emergency Response Team which includes numerous state and local maritime emergency responders.
At approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday, an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircrew from Air Station Clearwater located a debris field 37 miles west of Sanibel. 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.
At 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, a crew from 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 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.
At 8:13 a.m Thursday a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Station Fort Myers Beach located a bucket in the search area containing the Kimberly’s birth certificates, a GPS, a wallet, two cell phones, cigarettes, a tool box and a pool noodle.
At 11:06 a.m. Thursday Cape Coral Fire and Rescue recovered a second body 4 miles southeast of the location of the first body.
Crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, Station Fort Myers Beach, Station Cortez, Air Station Clearwater, Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Air Force, Customs and Border Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Iona-McGregor Fire Department, Boca Grande Fire Department and Cape Coral Fire and Rescue aided in the search.