Search for missing Apopka man ends
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspended their active searches Sunday for the Apopka man who never returned from a fishing trip as expected Wednesday night.
Coast Guard crews scoured roughly 13,000 square miles, an area larger than the state of Maryland, from Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville for Bernardo Enrique Rubio Hernandez.
The Coast Guard, FWC and Volusia County Sheriff's office said crews have searched the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean by air and water since Hernandez was reported missing, but have found no sign of Hernandez or his 14-foot boat.
The combined search efforts were suspended at 8:36 p.m. Sunday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Hernandez during this incredibly difficult time," said sector Jacksonville commander Captain Tom Allan. "The decision to suspend a search takes extreme consideration and is one of the most difficult decisions a Coast Guardsman is ever faced with."
Although the active search is suspended, the agencies will be on the lookout for any signs of Hernandez or his boat during routine air and water patrols. Anyone who has any information about this incident should call the FWC at 888-404-3922.
Officials said Coast Guard search efforts were coordinated by watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach. According to officials, Coast Guard crews involved in the search were as follows: boatcrews from Station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Station Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral, and Station Mayport in Atlantic Beach; aircrews from Air Station Clearwater and Air Station Miami; the crew of the Atlantic Beach-based 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher; and a Savannah, Ga., based Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew.
The Coast Guard, FWC and VCSO, as well as the Volusia County Beach Patrol and the New Smyrna Beach Police Department coordinated efforts during the response, officials said.