Florida

Coast Guard calls off search for missing 74-year-old Keys boater

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 74-year-old Florida Keys man Thursday after 62 hours.

John Gyurtsak, of Big Pine Key, was last seen in his 34-foot pleasure craft, Thermocline, leaving Big Pine Key before 2 p.m. Monday.

“We have made the difficult decision to suspend our search,” said Commander Blanca Rosas, search and rescue mission coordinator with Coast Guard Sector Key West .

“The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one as our hope is to be able to reunite people with their family and friends,” Rosas said.

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The Coast Guard on Friday afternoon was still searching for another Big Pine Key boater who went missing Tuesday afternoon.

Lance Arnold Hartkopp, 56, of 29859 Overseas Highway, was reported missing at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

His roommate found Hartkopp’s 2001 Dodge Ram pickup and boat trailer at the end of Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key Tuesday. The truck was unlocked and inside was his cellphone, police said.

Gyurstak was reported missing earlier on Tuesday.

Sector Key West watchstanders received a report from Gyurtsak’s friend that he was overdue after not showing up to meet him at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found Gyurtsak’s boat anchored with the engine running about one mile south of Big Pine Key.

Crews from Coast Guard Stations Key West and Marathon, the Coast Guard Cutters Raymond Evans and Pelican, Coast Guard Air Stations Clearwater and Miami, along with U.S. Navy helicopter crews, FWC marine and dive units, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office searched for nearly 62 hours covering an area of more than 2,280 square miles, which is roughly the size of Delaware.

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Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.
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