FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a South Florida millionaire after his boat washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale and he was nowhere to be found. They’ve been criss-crossing an area off the coast of Fort Lauderdale non-stop since his boat turned up Wednesday.
The search for Guma Aguiar was suspended just before 9 p.m. Thursday after crews searched the 1,523 square miles for more than 70 hours.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies searched tirelessly despite inclement weather in hopes to find Aguiar,” said, Capt. Todd Lutes, 7th Coast Guard District chief of Inncident Management Branch. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. It’s important that boaters remember that wearing and maintaining safety equipment like life jackets and personal electronic position indicating radio beacons can not only save your life but expedite your rescue.”
Aguiar’s 31-foot center console boat washed ashore in the 300 block of South Atlantic Boulevard around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 20th. The boat’s navigation lights were still on and the engines were still running. Police checked his cell phone records to see if he made any calls and taking a close look at his GPS.
“It will help us in identifying where the vessel traveled so maybe we can coordinate our search along those lines,” said Det. Madell. “And we’ll be able to figure out if there were any stops along the way or if Mr. Aguiar went straight out into the ocean and then the vessel was beached”.
Aguiar’s wife, Jamie, told police she thought her husband was in his home office when she got home Tuesday night but an employee of the Aguiar’s said Guma went out on his boat around 7:30 p.m. That was the last time anyone saw him.
Jamie told police she is concerned for her husband’s safety.
“The family called me middle of the night and I went running to A1A where the boat was,” said family Rabbi Moishe Lipscyz . ”We sat there the night praying watching the Coast Guard. It’s very very hard. I love him to no end. I just want him back home safe.”
While the Coast Guard searched waterways, Fort Lauderdale police scoured the beach on ATVs.
An active search continues for Aguiar with help from the Coast Guard, BSO, FWC, and Fort Lauderdale Marine Units.
They are searching about three miles offshore between Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Port Everglades.
Detectives consider Guma endangered and are investigating the circumstances behind his disappearance.
Guma Aguiar is a Brazilian-born businessman who made millions in oil and gas interests. The known philanthropist splits his time living between South Florida and Israel. He has contributed millions to Jewish and Israeli charities and in 2009, invested more than $4 million into an Israeli soccer team.
Anyone with information regarding Guma’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5700 or contact the nearest Coast Guard unit.