ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Coast Guard called off their search Monday for a missing 68-year-old Pinellas resident.
Search and rescue watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg obtained a photo at 8 a.m., Monday that was taken from a Wells Fargo Bank ATM camera in Clearwater.
“The search ended at 10 a.m. after a family member positively identified the man in the photo as the person we were looking for,” said Lt. j.g. Jessica Paxton, a Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg search and rescue coordinator. "This case is an excellent example of great teamwork and communication between all search parties involved - local, state and federal agencies combined.”
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Department is working with a local salvage company to get the vessel removed from Madeira Beach.
The missing mariner was last seen Saturday evening aboard his 28-foot sailing vessel, Juanita Dulce. The search started when a concerned citizen contacted the Coast Guard at 12:45 p.m., Sunday reporting the Juanita Dulce appeared to have drug its anchor and drifted inland to Madeira Beach.
The Juanita Dulce was found unmanned and aground at Maderia Beach at 1 p.m., Sunday.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater searched Sunday afternoon, concentrating in the area between Maderia Beach and Pass-A-Grille Beach.
All boaters should ensure that they have a working marine VHF radio on board to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16 should an emergency arise. The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.