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Coast Guard seeks ID of captain in wreck

Coast Guard investigators are seeking help from the public as they strive to gather information about an American boat captain who might have been aboard a 50-foot Hatteras that was discovered in pieces Feb. 24 about 22 miles east of the entrance to the St. Johns River in Florida.

The Coast Guard recovered the body of Venezuelan national Guillermo Gonzalez Losada, 49, from among the wreckage on Feb. 24 and has identified two other Venezuelan men who are believed to have been aboard. The Coast Guard has 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 toward a possible collision with a larger vessel or even a large explosion, but there has been no word yet about what caused the boat to break into pieces, according to a report at that includes a photo of the man Coast Guard investigators believe is the American captain.

Coast Guard crews searched for 56 hours, saturating roughly 2,875 square nautical miles surrounding the wreckage, for survivors. Coast Guard crews later searched an area 85 miles off Brunswick, Ga., when the vessel's emergency position indicating radio beacon activated. Losada's body was the only one recovered. The other two Venezuelan men, as well as the American captain who may have been aboard, remain missing.

Family and friends of the Venezuelan men reported that the owner of the vessel, Chong Kang Lum Valles, had recently purchased it 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 that 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, Fla.,-based business, ISV International, and attended a boat show in Miami prior to buying the vessel.

Anyone with information about the American captain, known only as Larry, who might have been aboard the vessel, or who might have been contacted to accompany the Venezuelan men, is urged to contact Coast Guard investigators at (904) 564-7511.



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