Missing boaters found adrift in Flagler

Parents worry when teen doesn't return home

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FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - The Flagler County Sheriff's Office searched into the early morning hours Sunday after a report of missing boaters.

Deputies said they were contacted by the father of a teenager who had gone boating with friends around noon on Saturday.

Deputies said when she failed to return by 9 p.m. and the father was unable to contact her, he called the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said they located the vehicle and empty boat trailer at Bings Landing on North Oceanshore Drive.

After searching the area, deputies called in the Volusia County Sheriff's Office's Air One helicopter as well as the Florida Wildlife Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and the FCSO Marine Patrol Unit, officials said.

Deputies said the drifting boat and passengers were located by Air One on the Intracoastal Waterway near the Whitney Lab in Marineland around 1:15 a.m., Sunday.

The Palm Coast boat owner, Danilo Gomez, 43, explained that he, three family members and the teenager were en route home from St. Augustine when they experienced engine problems, deputies said.

Gomez said the cellphone they had did not work and he was unable to call for assistance. Deputies removed the passengers and the boat was being moored in Marineland until the owner could make arrangements to move it, officials said.

"We are happy for the positive outcome of the search. There was great cooperation between several agencies to locate these boaters who otherwise may have spent the night drifting on the water. I want to thank everyone who was involved in this search," said Flagler County Sheriff James L Manfre.

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