Coast Guard Finds Bucket With Birth Certificates, Wallets of Missing Family

June 23, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

As the Coast Guard continues its search for a missing sailboat with four family members on board off the Florida shores, a bucket was found Thursday morning with personal items, including birth certificates, wallets, and a GPS.

Overnight, the Coast Guard also spotted what they believed to be a flare.

The family, a father and his three teens, was reported missing near Englewood, Fla., on Tuesday, June 21. The Coast Guard launched a search and found a debris field on Wednesday morning.

Later on Wednesday a body was recovered by the Coast Guard, who said it was likely one of the family members. The agency hasn’t identified the body, but NBC reported that a family member confirmed it was the daughter, Rebecca Kimberly, 17.

On Thursday, at about 2:30 a.m. a Coast Guard patrol boat and a helicopter spotted what they believed was a flare. They redirected the search to that area, Coast Guard Captain Gregory Case said at a Thursday press conference broadcast live by local Fox 13 News.

Then, at about 8:15 a.m., the Coast Guard found the bucket in the area where the body was recovered, about 33 miles off Sanibel Island.

The Coast Guard continues to search for the remaining three missing, Case said.

Ace Kimberly, 45, from Sarasota and his teenagers Roger Kimberly, 13, Donny Kimberly, 15, and Rebecca Kimberly, 17, left Sarasota at 7 a.m. on Sunday and headed to Fort Myers for repairs on the 29-foot sailboat.

Around 3 p.m. that day, the father called his brother and said the sailboat was in 6-foot seas and he was “attempting to survive with his children offshore of Englewood and requested weather information,” the Coast Guard stated in a press release.

When the family didn’t turn up in Fort Myers, the brother contacted the Coast Guard on Tuesday and the agency sent a helicopter, an airplane, and three boats to search for the family.

The Coast Guard searched through the night.

The aircraft discovered a debris field about 33 miles off Sanibel Island on Wednesday morning. The debris included four waterbottles, one or two tennis shoes, a basketball, a propane tank, six life jackets, and a kayak the boat towed. The brother confirmed the debris was consistent with items on the missing boat, Case said.

The brother said the boat had at least seven life jackets and also towed two kayaks.

The Coast Guard recovered two kayaks, but only one of them belonged to the family, according to Ashley Johnson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The father was living with the children on the boat for about a year in Sarasota, but the boat was “not in the best shape,” Case said.

Case said the boat’s engine probably wasn’t functioning and the family was using a small outboard engine instead.

Although the situation is dire, the search continues, Case said.

“We still have a hope they’re out there,” he said.

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