Coast Guard suspends search for overdue boater

Coast Guard 8th District NewsPENSACOLA, Fla. — The Coast Guard suspended its search for an overdue boater, Tuesday, who reportedly did not return home after a fishing trip, Saturday, near south of Pensacola Pass.

Missing is Lee Kent, 41.

Coast Guard crews searched for approximately 47 hours, covering more than 28,000 nautical miles, in an effort to locate Kent.

Crews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Carrabelle, Fla., and crew, as well as crews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, assisted in the search.

“The Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have conducted numerous searches on the water and in the air,” said Cmdr. Eric King, search and rescue coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “We saturated a search area several times, but unfortunately, we still did not locate him. As a result, we suspended the search. This serves as an example of why it is important to have a float plan, good communications and proper safety equipment prior to sailing.”

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Sunday, Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received an overdue vessel report from a family member reporting that Kent did not return home after a fishing trip aboard a 37-foot white Boston Whaler named Monkey Bar II.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to mariners in the area.

The search is suspended pending further developments.

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