Coast Guard suspends search for four missing Florida Gulf Coast fishermen

The United States Coast Guard has suspended its search for four missing boaters who went fishing off Florida’s Gulf Coast Saturday morning and never returned home.

Fishermen, Angel Hernandez Munoz, 38; Ruben Mora Sr., 54; Julio Cesar Cordero Briones, 37; and Alfonso Vargas Parra, 35, set out on a boat trip from Venice, Fla., about 20 miles south of Sarasota, at 8 a.m. Saturday, it is stated in the announcement of the Police Department of Venice.

The water that morning “wasn’t too rough,” Capt. Andy Leisenring of the Venice Police Department he said at a press conference on Monday. However, by afternoon, weather conditions had worsened, with heavy fog settling over the area, he said.

“Overnight and into Sunday, the winds picked up, the seas picked up, of course it rained most of that time,” Capt. Leisenring said, noting that Monday’s weather conditions remained poor. “It’s not very safe to be there for a small boat,” he said.

The men boarded a white 23-meter SportCraft boat from 1995, according to a statement from the Police Department. It was unclear what, if any, safety and emergency equipment was on board.

Capt. Leisenring said authorities were told the men were experienced fishermen, but did not leave a float plan, a detailed outline of the boat trip.

“They haven’t told family members exactly where they’re going, so that’s hindering our search efforts a little bit,” he said. “We have to assess the starting point and adjust from there for the search.”

By Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard and multiple local law enforcement agencies had pooled their resources to search for the men by sea and air. As of Monday, the search covered more than 4,600 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, the police department said.

US Coast Guard said on social networks late Monday, less than 48 hours after the investigation began, is suspending the search for the men, pending new information.

The U.S. Coast Guard and a Venice police detective on the case did not respond to requests for further information on Tuesday’s decision.

Ruben Mora Jr., son of Mr. Must, he said at a press conference on Monday that he had planned to meet his father, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, after fishing on Saturday, but had not heard from him.

“My dad lives for water; he lives for the ocean,” Ruben Mora Jr. said. “We’re just trying to get him home as soon as possible. I can’t imagine what he is going through or what his friends are going through. I just want him back here.”

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