The Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies continued their search Monday for a Key West man whose boat was discovered empty and adrift off the Middle Keys on Sunday.
Employees at the Blackfin Resort and Marina in Marathon notified the Coast Guard at 4:30 a.m. Sunday that Barond Van Der Hoven, 50, was due back at dusk Saturday, but had not returned, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Jay Hagwood. Van Der Hoven reportedly left the marina alone in the boat at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Coast Guard Sector Marathon sent rescue boats and multiple aircraft were dispatched from Miami. Air crews found the 23-foot cuddy cabin vessel at 7 a.m., about a mile south of Duck Key, Hagwood said. There were fishing poles on board, but the engine was not running when rescue boats arrived.
"We don't know if he fell overboard, if he was spearfishing and got pushed away from the boat in the current, or if something else happened," he said. "There was nothing on board to immediately suggest what happened."
Hagwood said crews based their searches on coordinates found in the boat's GPS.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers also are taking part in the search, which had turned up nothing as of Monday afternoon, said FWC spokesman Bobby Dube.
"We can only speculate as to what happened," Dube said.
Searchers are considering the weekend weather in their search -- thunderstorms moved through the Keys in late afternoon and early evening on both days, Hagwood said.
"Anytime you have a search like this you have to factor in the weather and, as the hours go by, the search area gets bigger and bigger as currents are factored," Hagwood said.
Anyone with information related to Van Der Hoven's whereabouts is asked to call the Coast Guard at 305-415-6800.
Squalls contributed to other weekend incidents on the water, including one with an injury in Islamorada on Saturday, Dube said.
Jorge Perez, 63, of Miami, was cited for careless operation after he reportedly hit a buoy while trying to reach a dock ahead of foul weather, Dube said.
The buoy heavily damaged the 33-foot Hydra-Sport, and passenger Ed Nicklaus, 66, of Miami suffered a broken foot, Dube said. Passenger Jorge Perez Jr., 20, was not injured.
Nicklaus was treated at Mariners Hospital, Dube said.