FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Authorities are searching for a Fort Lauderdale man after his boat was found run aground early Wednesday on Fort Lauderdale Beach with its engine still running.
Fort Lauderdale police said they received a report at 1:15 a.m. that a boat had washed ashore in the 300 block of South Atlantic Boulevard.
Officers arrived and found the boat unoccupied, but the lights were on and the motor was running.
Waiters working late at the Elbo Room on A1A said they could see the vessel moving south in the water. Employee Tyson Hartnett said he and his co-workers tried to send it signals.
"We were flashing our flashlights on him, trying to get his attention," Hartnett said.
When police contacted Jamie Aguiar, the wife of the boat's owner, Guma Aguiar, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, she told them she thought he was in his home office. An employee of the couple then told Jamie Aguiar that her husband had gone out on the boat about 7:30 p.m., police said.
Guma Aguiar has not been seen since.
The U.S. Coast Guard, the Broward Sheriff's Office, Fort Lauderdale police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are searching for Aguiar.
Experts at Sea Tow, which towed Guma Aguiar's boat after its discovery, said the only thing that was broken was the tie rod that holds the two outboard motors parallel. Without the rod, they said, the boat could lose control, which may have knocked him overboard.
Guma Aguiar was the CEO and co-founder of an energy company called Leor. Court records show he is in the middle of a divorce with his wife. They also show a pending dispute with a business partner at Leor, which was sued two years ago.
Aguiar is a local philanthropist, donating money to the Chabad Lubavitch in Fort Lauderdale, which bears his name above the front entrance.
Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc said he was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Aguiar's disappearance.
"We hope and pray that he will be found, and that he will be safe. And it's just an accident that happened, but that he was able to swim ashore and he will be found," Lipszyc said.
Police have not ruled out anything in Guma Aguiar's disappearance, including foul play.
Anyone with information is asked to call Fort Lauderdale police at 954-828-5700.