Friend of family missing at sea says boat was not seaworthy

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A friend of a family of four who is missing at sea says he does not think the family had a marine radio with them that could have summoned help if there was an emergency.

The friend disclosed the information on the same day that the Coast Guard said a second body was found in the search for the missing Kimberly family. The body was found Thursday, four miles southeast from the location of where the first body was discovered. NBC News is reporting the second body is father, Ace Kimberly.

Glenn Calvert, a close friend of Ace Kimberly, said the missing boat was called “Golden Goddess.” Calvert described Ace as the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. Calvert said he is even losing hope. He said tearfully “It’s not gonna be the same without him.”

The family left Sarasota on Sunday, traveling to Fort Myers to have the boat repaired and remodel the inside.

Travis Evans, another friend of the Kimberly family, said Ace asked him for a radio, but left on Sunday before retrieving it. Evans adds he didn’t know if Ace had a radio during their trip. Evans said the boat was “water worthy, but not seaworthy” alluding to the fact the boat could’ve handled the voyage, but was in no shape to handle rough seas.

Family friends said Ace was a good man and a very good sailor. The family was reportedly very close-knit, and the Kimberly teens were even home schooled.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to find items belonging to the family who went missing in Gulf waters over the weekend. It remains a search and rescue mission, and according to the Coast Guard they “still have hope they are out there.”

Thursday morning, a second kayak was located that fits the description of one being towed by the sailboat the Kimberly family lived on. Crews also say they found a bucket in the debris area containing family belongings such as birth certificates and a wallet.

Capt. Gregory Case also says a possible media flare was seen in the search area around 2:30 a.m., and they are treating it as such.

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard has recovered one body while searching a debris field 37 miles west of Sanibel. Case says they can not yet identify the body.

The missing family has been identified as 45-year-old Ace Kimberly and his children, 13-year-old Roger, 15-year-old Donny and 17-year-old Rebecca. Officials say the family had been living on the sailboat for a year. Case says the last word from the family came later Sunday when Kimberly told his brother they were sailing in “6-foot seas and thunderstorms.”

The debris found included items such as water jugs, tarps, six life jackets, a throwable life ring, a propane tank, a pair of shoes and a basketball.

At 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, crews 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. About four hours later, a helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater located and recovered a body about 40 miles west of Sanibel. The body was transferred to local authorities for identification.

The search continues for the family members on Thursday. News Channel 8’s Lindsay Mastis is joining the Coast Guard on their 8-10 hour flight Thursday over Gulf waters to search for the family.

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