Mystery raft washes up on Florida beach
Water bottles from Cuba found near raft on Melbourne Beach
MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. – News 6 partner Florida Today reports that a mystery raft washed ashore Monday in Brevard County.
Shortly before sunset Monday, Alex Barabas and Nicholle Rothengass were walking along the sand just south of Aquarina Beach and Country Club in Melbourne Beach when they started noticing water bottles on the beach labeled by Ciego Montero, a Cuban manufacturer.
Then the friends spotted the battered, yellow and blue, steel-framed raft that had washed ashore on Brevard County's beach, about 100 yards away.
"We inspected it. There were clothes on it. There were shoes. And there were empty IV bags in there, with 5 percent sugar and the rest water," Barabas said.
"You're just wondering if there was anyone around, or if there were any people in the water. We looked for any bodies. We looked for anyone on the main roads or the bushes next to it," he said.
The friends shot photos and videos of the raft, then notified the Brevard County Sheriff's Office of their discovery.
The raft's frame was crafted from reinforced steel, wood, plastic foam and stainless steel. Most of the blue paint had peeled off the yellow tarps, and red spray-painted lettering was visible along the starboard side.
"For as much as I know about boat construction, it looked like it was well-built. Obviously it made it over here, and it must have broken up on shore-pound," Barabas said.
Barabas is a West Melbourne resident and a fourth-year medical student at Florida State University. He said they found the raft near high tide, and the surrounding beach appeared deserted.
Cans of food were aboard, and he suspects a flat piece of wood found on the starboard side was used a paddle.
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