Ace Kimberly and his three children remain missing at sea, and the hope of a rescue has taken a hit with an update on Wednesday that search crews found debris and an empty kayak.
Kimberly left for a trip on Sunday with his three children — 13-year-old Roger, 15-year-old Donny, and 17-year-old Rebecca — in the 29-foot sailboat where the family had been living for close to a year. The family was headed to Ft. Meyers Beach to repair the boat, but somewhere during the trip, the boat and the family went missing, WFLA reported.
It was during that trip Ace Kimberly ran into dangerous weather. The Coast Guard said Kimberly called his brother at close to 3 p.m. on Sunday to say that they had run into six-foot waves off Englewood and that the family was trying to make it through the storm. That was the last known contact with the missing Kimberly family.
Now it appears that Ace Kimberly and his family may have crashed. In an update on Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard said that a debris field was located about 33 miles offshore.
As WFLA reported, the update looked grim for the Kimberly family.
“Crews located a tarp, 4 water jugs, 6 life jackets, tennis shoes, a basketball and propane tank. There was no sign of the boat. Later on Wednesday afternoon, the Coast Guard tweeted that search crews had found a green kayak that is believed to belong to the missing family.
“The Coast Guard said it is ‘throwing everything they have at the search’ at this time, and they are now ‘concentrating efforts on finding family.'”
That search for the missing family now includes an HC-130 Hercules plane, a Coast Guard cutter, and two other search boats as crews try to fight against time to look for the Kimberly family.
But search crews noted that the discovery of the debris did not point toward a positive outcome for Ace Kimberly and his missing children.
“That is a dire finding,” said Sector Commander Captain Gregory Case (via NBC News). “We are doing everything we can and throwing everything we have at the search at this time.”
The repair trip could have had something to do with the missing boat going missing, Case added. He noted that Kimberly’s vessel “was not in the best of shape” and headed toward needed repairs. The boat did not emit a distress signal before disappearing, and Case noted that there were thunderstorms and squalls across the area where the family went missing.
The search for Ace Kimberly and his children has now attracted the attention of another family of a child lost at sea. The family of Perry Cohen, a Florida teen who disappeared last year during a fishing trip with a friend, issued a statement through the Perry Cohen Foundation on Facebook offering support for the Kimberly family.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family, their loved ones and the dedicated men and woman of the United States Coast Guard and Law Enforcement who are conducting the SAR [search and rescue] efforts,” the post read.
The bodies of Cohen and his friend were never found, but earlier this year, the teens’ empty boat was located with a cell phone inside, providing some clues about how they went missing at sea. Cohen’s family has spearheaded efforts to search for them and to honor the memory of the pair.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Ace Kimberly and his family is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at (727) 824-7506.
[Image via United States Coast Guard/Twitter]