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One body recovered; search for missing family continues

By Staff | Jun 23, 2016

The Coast Guard recovered a body Wednesday and continues to search the waters off Sanibel for a family reported missing after they left Sarasota in a sailboat Sunday but failed to arrive in Fort Myers.

The body was found at 4:30 p.m. and was recovered by an MH-60 Helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater approximately 40 nautical miles west of Sanibel.

The body was transferred to local authorities for identification.

“We remain hopeful we’ll find survivors,” said Capt. Greg Case, commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “We continue to keep close contact with the family and keep them updated on all developments during this difficult time.”

Missing are Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three children Rebecca Kimberly, 17, Donald Kimberly, 15, and Roger Kimberly, 13.

The family was last heard from Sunday afternoon. Ace Kimberly called family to say they were caught in heavy seas off Englewood.

They were reported missing on Tuesday and searchers began finding items from the sailboat Wednesday morning.

At approximately 10 a.m. an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircrew from Air Station Clearwater located a debris field 37 miles west of Sanibel. The debris field contained water jugs, tarps, six life jackets, a throwable life ring, a propane tank, a pair of shoes and a basketball and other items.

A surface assets crew is investigating the debris.

At 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday, a crew from Station Fort Myers Beach located a green sit-in kayak in the vicinity of the original debris field matching the description of a kayak known to be with the family.

The Coast Guard was able to attribute all of the debris to the ongoing search for the missing sailboat.

They then discovered, and recovered, one body.

Crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, Station Fort Myers Beach and Station Cortez, and helicopter and fix-wing aircrews from Air Station Clearwater, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Customs and Border Protection continue searching for the family.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County Sheriff’s Office are also aiding in the search.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the Kimberly family is asked to contact the Coast Guard in St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.