PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — Andre Nolasco was last seen launching his boat from Nick’s Park in Port Richey Sunday morning.
“The sea temperatures right now are pretty warm increasing his survival rate chance, but the seas are choppy and it is hurricane season,” said Santiago Gomez with the U.S. Coast Guard. “We’re just hoping to bring him home to his family.”
The U.S. Coast Guard found the 57-year-old’s boat 8 miles off the coast of Hudson, with Nolasco nowhere to be found.
“What we do know about the vessel is when we found it, the kill switch was activated,” Gomez explained.
A kill switch is designed to shut off a boat’s engine if the operator is thrown overboard.
The Coast Guard told 8 On Your Side they found a life jacket on Nolasco’s boat, but aren’t sure if he was wearing one when he went missing.
Now, surrounding agencies like Hernando County Fire and Rescue are assisting in the search.
“Basically, like looking for a needle in a haystack essentially,” said HCFR Public Information Officer Nick Brandt. “You’re out there with binoculars, or just looking along the water line.”
With miles and miles of open water, search crews say they won’t stop until they’ve exhausted every option of trying to being Nolasco back home to his family.
“We’ll have our air assets overhead looking over a huge area trying to locate one man in the water which can be difficult at times but we have faith in our crews,” Gomez said.
If you find anything that you think could lead search crews to find Nolasco, please call 727-824-7506.