Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater after rescuing 2 near Cedar Key

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YANKEETOWN, Fla.(WFLA) – The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing boater after rescuing two men from a 23-foot capsized boat Saturday.

The missing man was 54-year-old Gilbert Valdes of Eldersburg, Maryland.

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Gilbert,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida. “Suspending the search is never an easy decision to make, but despite our best efforts, we were unable to locate Mr. Valdes.”

At 10:05 p.m., Friday, officials received a report stating three men had left Alachua at 5:30 a.m. on a truck and trailer and never returned.

Early Saturday morning, officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the truck and trailer were at the Cedar Key boat ramp.

A search for the trio began by air and sea.

At 7:25 a.m. a rescue helicopter crew located Garrick Valdes, 50, from Locust Grove, Virginia, and Bruce Smith from Alachua, Florida aboard their capsized boat six miles south of Sea Horse Key, Florida.

The men were hoisted and transported to EMS at Cedar Key airport to be evaluated.

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