Search on for Millionaire After Boat Washes Ashore in Fort Lauderdale
Authorities are searching for a Fort Lauderdale millionaire after his boat was found aground on the beach Wednesday morning with its engine running and navigation lights on. Guma Aguiar, 33, a businessman and philanthropist who made millions in the oil industry, hasn't been seen since Tuesday night. A close friend of Aguiar, Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc, said he was shocked when the family called him to tell him the news.
Authorities continue to search for a Fort Lauderdale millionaire after his boat was found aground on the beach Wednesday morning with its engine running and navigation lights on.
Guma Aguiar, 33, a businessman and philanthropist who made millions in the oil industry, hasn't been seen since Tuesday night.
A close friend of Aguiar, Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc, said he was shocked when the family called him early Wednesday to tell him the news that Aguiar was missing.
"He's a very special person, he has a great heart and he helps people across the world," Lipszyc told NBC 6 Wednesday. "He has a heart as big as this world, I cannot say enough good about him."
Lipszyc said he's known Aguiar, who was born in Brazil and has four children, for nearly 10 years. He said he loves the water and spends much of his time on his three boats.
Fort Lauderdale Police say officers responded to the 300 block of South Atlantic Boulevard around 1:15 a.m. to a call of a boat washed ashore.
Officers found no one aboard the 31-foot Jupiter, but noticed the lights on and the ignition running, police said.
Police immediately went to Aguiar's home, where they spoke with his wife, Jamie, who said she arrived home Tuesday night and thought her husband was in the home office.
An employee told her that her husband went out on the boat around 7:30 Tuesday night, police said.
The Coast Guard began searching surrounding waterways by sea and air, and Fort Lauderdale Police searched the beach on ATVs. The Broward Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also helping in the search.
Seatow's Gregory Mallek pulled in Aguiar's boat, and noticed critical damage to a rod binding the boat's two engines.
"When a tie rod does break, there's a possibility that, you know, the vessel will change direction pretty abruptly, and if that happens, you know, you could lose balance, fall overboard and whatnot," Mallek said.
That is one of many theories Fort Lauderdale Police are exploring as they, the BSO and Coast Guard retrace Aguiar's last whereabouts.
"The fact that the gentleman would get on to his boat and decide to go out into such treacherous seas where there is such inclement weather and strong riptide currents doesn't make sense for us right now," Fort Lauderdale Police spokesman Detective Travis Mandell said.
Aguiar's record includes a drug possession arrest in 2009 in which he claimed he was attacked and called anti-Semitic slurs by Broward Sheriff's deputies. He pleaded no contest and paid a fine, according to court records.
Then, in June 2011, Aguiar was arrested for stalking, according to Fort Lauderdale Police. That case was concluded wiht Aguiar given probation, according to court records.
Lipszyc said the family called him early Wednesday morning to come to the beach to pray with them.
"We're all hoping and praying that he'll be found and he'll be safe," Lipszyc said. "The family is completely devastated and nervous. We have to find him and he has to be found safe and secure."
Police say Aguiar is considered endangered and anyone with information on his disappearance is asked to call Fort Lauderdale Police at 954-828-5700.