Boater Disappears in Florida Keys, Authorities Find Empty Sailboat

Authorities searching for Iowa man who left on solo sailing trip after boat found empty on Key Largo

By Brian Hamacher
|  Monday, Mar 25, 2013  |  Updated 11:15 AM EDT
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Authorities are searching for an Iowa man whose empty boat was found near Key Largo days after he left on a solo sailing trip, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Mark Polaschek, 49, was on vacation with his wife and 6-year-old son when he left on his boat alone around 2 p.m. Friday. His wife reported him missing about 6 hours later, at around 8 p.m.

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According to the MCSO, Polaschek's wife said he wasn't an experienced boater but insisted on going out on their sailboat. She said she didn't like to go with him on the water because she was afraid of his lack of boating skills.

The Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began searching for Polaschek and discovered his boat on the gulf side of Key Largo near the Everglades Saturday morning, the MCSO said.

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Polaschek hasn't been found and there was no evidence on the boat to indicate what may have happened to him and no obvious signs of foul play, the MCSO said.

His disappearance is still being investigated by the FWC and sheriff's office.

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