Missing South Florida boaters found

MIAMI — The three South Florida boaters who did not return from their fishing trip as expected Thursday have been located 85 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday morning.

John Land, 48, of West Palm Beach, Fla., David Blakeney, 39, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., and Kevin Wood, 45, of West Palm Beach, were located with no reported injuries on their disabled 32-foot pleasure craft Shade Maker by a Navy frigate 85 miles east of Jacksonville.

A family member contacted the Coast Guard around 1 a.m. Friday stating the boaters did not return Thursday at sunset as originally planned. The boaters got underway at 6 a.m. Thursday from Riviera Beach, Fla., aboard the Shade Maker.

The Coast Guard was searching an area as far north as Jacksonville, as far south as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and as far east as the Bahamas.

Assisting in the search were:

  • An HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami
  • An HC-130 fixed-wing aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • A 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement vessel crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce
  • The crew of the Miami-based 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur
  • The crew of the Fort Pierce-based 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Cormorant
  • The crew of the Jacksonville-based 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher
  • A 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement vessel crew from Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet, Fla.
  • A Bahamian Air and Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) aircrew
  • Crews from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

The Navy frigate has the Shade Maker and its passengers in tow and is currently heading towards Jacksonville to transfer tow to local commercial salvage.

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