ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 25 (UPI) — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search off Florida’s Gulf Coast on Saturday for a family after identifying two of the four missing bodies.
Coast Guard Sector Cmdr. Gregory Case announced the decision at a news conference two days after two bodies were discovered. They were identified as 45-year-old Ace Kimberly and his daughter, 17-year-old Rebecca.
“This is probably the most difficult decision I ever have to make in this position,” Case said of the decision to suspend the search for the remaining family members. Kimberly’s two sons Donny, 15, and Roger, 13, remain missing.
Maj. Roger Young of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they would continue the investigation by evaluating the debris that was found floating in the water to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Six life jackets were reportedly found among the debris and a seventh which was on the boat according to Kimberly’s brother was later found on one of the bodies.
“Rebecca had a life jacket on, and father Ace did not,” Case said.
Coast Guard rescue teams discovered Ace Kimberly’s body on Thursday morning a few miles away from where his daughter’s body was found the day before.
The family of four had been traveling on a 29-foot sailboat from Sarasota to Fort Myers along Florida’s Gulf Coast when Kimberly called his brother and said they were attempting to survive dangerous conditions.