Coast Guard confirms missing boater found safe

KEY WEST, Fla. – Following a decision to suspend the search for Dorel Zafiu Tuesday, search-and-rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Key West received confirmation from Zafiu stating he was never in distress and just returned from a week near Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas.

Zafiu was the subject of a three day search initiated by the Coast Guard after a concerned citizen reported him overdue on Sunday. The reporting source said Zafiu departed on Sept. 14 and thought Zafiu intended to be between Big Pine Key, Fla. and Marathon, Fla. When Zafiu failed to return as expected, the reporting source contacted the Coast Guard for assistance. The Coast Guard launched an extensive search spanning a 7,000 square mile area between Cape Sable, Fla. and Marquesas Keys, Fla.

The search also included an area around Cay Sal Bank this morning by a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft after Coast Guard search-and-rescue coordinators received information that he might be there. It was determined that Zafiu had departed the Cay Sal Bank area prior to this morning’s search.

Coast Guard urges boaters to file a detailed float plan with a friend or family member on land prior to departing. For more information and copies of example float plans, visit

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