Coast Guard ends search for man who vanished after boat crash off Key Biscayne

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday evening that the search for a 33-year-old man who vanished after a Jan. 4 boat crash off Key Biscayne has ended.

Florida Fish and Wildlife reported divers found human remains belonging to the man identified as Spencer Sheridan, according to the Coast Guard.

“Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends who lost their loved one,” Capt. Jo-Ann F. Burdian, the commander for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami, said in a statement adding he had “truly hoped for a different outcome to this tragic situation.”

Divers found the boat’s lower unit on Wednesday with human remains belonging to the victim. It was near the Bear Cut Bridge, which connects Virginia Key with Key Biscayne.

Sheridan was in a boat with six other people when the crash happened. The group had hit bottom, so they were waiting for the charter boat’s captain to rescue them when they collided with the other boat.

Man, 33, vanishes at sea after boats crash off Key Biscayne

Four were injured and Sheridan vanished at sea prompting a massive search involving three police departments, a state agency, and a federal agency.

FWC investigators found Sheridan and the other six people were in an unlicensed charter boat.

Two Open Fisherman boats collided on Monday night off Key Biscayne. The 19-foot boat flew over the 21-foot boat both in the custody of FWC. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

Quinton “Q” Dieterle, a Miami charter captain who is not related to the crash, said he witnessed the search. He said he is not surprised about the location.

“If you’re not familiar with the water, you are in deep trouble,” Dieterle said.

These are the risks of illegal charters and there are many in South Florida, Dieterle said.

“It’s hard for FWC to track down all these people,” Dieterle said.

About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.