Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater

Mark Myhre last heard from on Christmas Day

MIAMI - The Coast Guard suspended the search for a man who was last heard from more than a week ago after his sailboat was found near Elliott Key.

The search was called off on Friday evening.

Family members last spoke with 62-year-old Mark Myhre, of Bay City, Wis., on Christmas Day. He reportedly told his son Chad he planned on sailing from the lower Florida Keys to Haiti.

"His dream was to get through the Panama Canal. That was the point of this trip," said Chad Myhre. "He was sailing around the Keys, getting used to the boat, and then his first voyage was going to be to Haiti."

Phone records show Myhre was just off Marathon Key when he spoke with his son.

Myhre's sailboat, the Galilean, was found grounded on the ocean side of Biscayne National Park near Elliott Key on Wednesday. The witness who found the sailboat said the Galilean had no visible signs of growth on the lines in the water and did not see anyone near the beached vessel.

Myhre's son told the Coast Guard his father often sailed to place alone, and once moored, traveled by bicycle that he kept on board. He also had a dingy attached to his sailboat.

"The dingy was there, the bicycle and canned goods and fresh fruit," said Chad Myhre.

"So it appeared everything was normal?" asked Local 10's Todd Tongen.

"Correct," answered Myhre.

Chad Myhre said his father bought the boat in Fort Myers and sailed it to Key West. It was named after the Italian astronomer Galileo.

"He had been researching this for about two years, studying how to read charts and navigation and open-water sailing. He has been around boats all his life. He taught me how to sail," said Chad Myhre.

Myhre is described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds, and having salt and pepper hair.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Miami, a smallboat crew from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Knight Island were launched to the search the surrounding area. Additionally, Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue crews are assisting with the search. Smallboat crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., and Station Marathon, Fla., are conducting shoreline searches from Elliot Key to Marathon.

The Coast Guard is asking for anyone with information about the missing boater to contact Coast Guard watchstanders in Miami at 305-415-6800 or local police.

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