The U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday suspended its search for a family of four who disappeared off the Florida coast last week.
Ace Kimberly and his three teenage children were last in contact on June 21, while they sailed from Sarasota to Fort Meyers for repairs to the boat they lived on in Sarasota Bay.
“I made the very difficult decision to suspend the active search operations for the Kimberly family,” said Capt. Gregory Case, a Coast Guard spokesman, in a news release. “It is with a heavy heart and sincere condolences to the family and friends that I do this. This is probably the most difficult decision I ever have to make in this position.”
The bodies of Kimberly, 45, and 17-year-old Rebecca, his daughter, were recovered last week, Case said in the press conference, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The bodies of his two sons, 15-year-old Donny and 13-year-old Roger, are still missing, Case said.
Kimberly had called his brother last Sunday, saying the family was in six-foot seas and trying to survive.
Ace’s brother didn’t hear from him again and reported him missing. “He gave us good information,” Case told the Herald-Tribune. “He did the best he could.”
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard initiated a search for the four.
“The Coast Guard alongside partner agencies conducted more than 100 searches covering 33,830 square miles for more than 250 hours in search for the missing family,” read a news release from the Coast Guard on Saturday.
A field of debris believed to be from the boat was found. Crews searching for the family spotted the debris about 37 miles from the coast near Saribel Island. The Coast Guard said that the “debris field contained items such as water jugs, tarps, six life jackets, a throwable life ring, a propane tank, a pair of shoes, and a basketball.”
They later recovered a sailboat mast, life jackets and a bucket of items that belonged to the family, including their birth certificates, a GPS, wallet, cellphone, and cigarettes.
On Thursday, crews spotted a white flare while conducting the search.