2nd Body Found Amid Search for Family Missing on Sailboat

The family was aboard a 29-foot sailboat bound for Fort Myers when squalls rolled through the area Sunday

What to Know

  • Two bodies have now been recovered off the coast of Florida believed to be from a family lost since Sunday.
  • Family members told NBC News the body found Wednesday is that of 17-year-old Rebecca Kimberly.
  • The Coast Guard continues to search for survivors.

Rescue crews have found a second body amid the search for a Florida family lost at sea in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard officials announced the discovery Thursday afternoon, on day three of the search for 45-year-old Ace Kimberly and his children — 17-year-old Rebecca, 15-year-old Donald and 13-year-old Roger.

The body was found about four miles from where the first body was found Wednesday, officials said.

Family members told NBC News the body found Wednesday is that of Rebecca Kimberly. The Coast Guard has not publicly identified either body.

The family was aboard a 29-foot sailboat bound for Fort Myers when squalls rolled through the area, bringing thunderstorms and 6-foot swells, Ace Kimberly's brother told authorities.

They had been living on the boat in Sarasota and had planned to make repairs to the vessel, which was "not in the best of shape," according to Case.

Coast Guard crews also said they spotted what appeared to be a white flare while searching for a missing Florida family early Thursday morning. They added that a sailboat mast was also found.

Capt. Gregory Case said helicopter and boat crews saw something at 2:26 a.m. Thursday. They also found a bucket with items belonging to the family, including birth certificates, a GPS, wallet, cellphone and cigarettes. A pool noodle and tool box were discovered nearby.

Case said at a press conference Thursday the situation appears "dire" but officials "continue to hold out hope" the other family members are alive. Authorities have not publicly identified the body.

A new search Thursday was expected to last for eight to 10 hours. Officials returned the area 40 miles offshore where the body and other debris were found.

"It's an active search-and-rescue mission," Case said.

Six life jackets, four water bottles and at least one tennis shoe were found Wednesday, along with two kayaks, only one of which was identified as belonging to the family, officials said.

Other agencies, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and several sheriffs’ departments from Southwest Florida, are helping with the search.

Anyone who enters the Gulf of Mexico is asked to keep a lookout and contact Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506 with any information.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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