The U.S. Coast Guard is still seeking information from the public about the mysterious wreckage found last week off the coast of Florida near the entrance to the St. John’s River, and more specifically information about the American boat captain believed to have been aboard.
The 50-foot Hatteras was discovered in pieces about 22 miles east of the entrance to the St. Johns River in Florida on February 24. Later that day the Coast Guard recovered the body of Venezuelan national Guillermo Gonzalez Losada, 49, amongst the large debris field. The Coast Guard has also identified two other Venezuelan men, believed to have been aboard, but have not been able to gather any additional information about an American boat captain who reportedly was also aboard.
At first glance, photos of the wreckage point towards a possible collision with a larger vessel or even a large explosion, but so far no word yet on what caused the boat to break into pieces.
Coast Guard crews searched for 56 hours, covering roughly 2,875 square nautical miles surrounding the wreckage. On Wednesday, the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) activated 85 miles off of Brunswick, Georgia, prompting another search there.
Family and friends of the Venezuelan men reported that the owner of the vessel, Chong Kang Lum Valles, had recently purchased the boat in South Carolina and hired an American boat captain, whose first name they say is “Larry”, to help transport the boat. 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.
Investigators believe Lum owns a Coral Gables, Florida-based business, ISV International, and attended a boat show in Miami prior to purchasing the vessel.
The Coast Guard is urging anyone with information about the American boat captain or the wreckage to call investigators at 904-564-7511.