Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker Donald Waters


U.S. Coast Guard officials suspended their search for missing kayaker Donald Waters after combing the sea for nearly five days to find the Vero Beach man. The agency made the announcement in a Twitter post.

“The decision to suspend a case is never an easy one,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Reynolds, a command duty officer for Sector Miami Command Center. “Our greatest sympathies go out to the Waters family during this time.”

Coast Guard officials suspended the search at 10 p.m. Saturday, 3rd Class Petty Officer Ryan Estrada said. The Coast Guard, along with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, began using aircrafts and boats to search for 42-year-old Waters late Tuesday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also joined the search efforts.

Donald Waters

The Coast Guard used a variety of large aircrafts and boats, including the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, the C-130 Hercules airplane, a 45-foot Response Boat and more.

The agencies searched a total of 114 hours and about 7,100 square nautical miles, Coast Guard officials said.

A good Samaritan found a backpack containing Waters’ personal items about noon Saturday in the ocean 12 miles east of Vero Beach, Coast Guard officials said.

Waters left in his kayak from Sexton Plaza about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said. Waters’ friend last spoke to him by phone about 10 a.m. the same day, Vero Beach police said.

The friend said Waters was unsure of his location and could not see land, police said. The friend called police late Tuesday to report Waters missing.

Waters’ last phone ping – from 9:40 p.m. Tuesday – showed he was about 1.5 miles east in the ocean and about five miles north of Vero Beach, police said. Boaters found Waters’ red and gray inflatable Excursion Pro kayak Tuesday afternoon about 2.5 miles southeast of the Sebastian Inlet State Park.

Officers on Wednesday met with the boaters and positively identified the kayak as Waters’ canoe, officials said. Waters’ vehicle, which police said was still parked at Sexton Plaza Tuesday night, was turned over to his mother.

Waters was described as a white man who is 6-feet 2-inches tall. Anyone with information on Waters’ whereabouts should call the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami Command Center at 305-535-4472.

Those with information can also dial 911 or contact the Vero Beach Police Department at 772-978-4604.

Photos provided by U.S. Coast Guard 

Related Articles

Comments are closed.