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South Florida boater found alive a day after being reported missing at sea

Juan Evelio Ferrer Gonzales. (U.S. Coast Guard)

MIAMI – A 54-year-old boater has been found alive a day after he was reported missing, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Wednesday morning.

Coast Guard officials say Juan Evelio Ferrer Gonzales was last heard from Monday when he was leaving Bimini en route to Homestead Bayfront Park on his 22-foot boat.

They said he was found around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday off the coast of Jupiter.

According to Coast Guard officials, a good Samaritan reported seeing a disabled boat with two people aboard about 10 miles off Jupiter Inlet.

A Coast Guard crew later discovered that it was the missing boater.

Officials said he was with his “reported stepson,” who is not a U.S. citizen.

According to officials, their boat ran out of fuel, but both are in good condition.

“We are happy that Gonzales was found alive and well,” said Cmdr. Eric Paré, search and rescue mission coordinator, Sector Miami. “We encourage mariners file a float plan, telling someone where they are going and when they are returning, have a good working VHF radio, and to always wear a life jacket.”

“Maritime migration is dangerous and illegal,” said Lt. Karolina Del Hierro Vega, a Coast Guard Seventh District Enforcement officer. “Human smuggling ventures, whether paid for or made by a friend or family member, are subject to criminal and civil penalties.”

Officials did not immediately confirm whether Gonzales would face charges or civil penalties for the alleged attempted smuggling of his stepson.

Meanwhile, officials are still searching for 43-year-old Brian Mcauley, who fell off his yellow kayak this week near Geiger Key.

They said he was wearing blue shorts with a black stripe on them.

And in Coconut Creek, police are searching for 60-year-old Daniel Potter.

Potter was last seen getting into his canoe on Saturday to go fishing in Coco Lake.

Daniel Potter. (Coconut Creek Police Department)

Rescue crews, dive teams and a helicopter have all helped in the search, but have been unsuccessful in finding Potter or his canoe.

Anyone with information about Potter’s whereabouts is asked to call Coconut Creek police at 954-973-6700. Anyone with information about Mcauley’s whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Coast Guard at 305-292-8727.


About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.