Coast Guard seeks info about American boat captain
Officials say captain may have been involved in fatal accident
U.S. Coast Guard investigators are seeking help from the public to gather any information about an American boat captain who may have been aboard a 50-foot Hatteras that was discovered in pieces about 22 miles east of the entrance to the St. Johns River on Feb. 24.
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The Coast Guard recovered the body of Venezuelan national Guillermo Gonzalez Losada (pictured, below), 49, among the wreckage, and investigators confirmed two other Venezuelan men were aboard, but they have not been able to gather any additional information about an American boat captain who reportedly was also aboard.
Coast Guard crews searched for 56 hours, saturating roughly 2,875 square nautical miles surrounding the wreckage for survivors. Coast Guard crews searched an area 85 miles off of Brunswick, Ga., when the vessel's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon activated. Losada's body was the only one recovered. The other two Venezuelan men, as well as the American captain who may also have been aboard, remain missing.
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Family and friends of the Venezuelan men reported the owner of the vessel, Chong Kang Lum Valles, had recently purchased it in South Carolina and hired an American boat captain, whose first name they say is Larry, to help transport the boat, the Coast Guard said. They said they do not know the boat captain's last name or where he is from. The name of the vessel is On the Weigh.
The vessel was purchased in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., and it is believed the three Venezuelan men and the American captain were traveling along the southeastern U.S. coast to Aruba, with several port calls planned along the way, the Coast Guard said.
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Investigators believe Lum owns a Coral Gables-based business, ISV International, and attended a boat show in Miami prior to purchasing the vessel.
Anyone with any information about the American boat captain, known only as Larry, who may have been aboard the vessel or who may have been contacted to accompany the Venezuelan men is urged to contact Coast Guard investigators at 904-564-7511.