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Old 12-21-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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Default Mystery Boat Wreck In Fort Walton

Here's the link for the Fort Walton Daily News<DIV id=mainwrapper class=clearfix><DIV id=topstoryhead><H1>UPDATED: Helicopter, boats continue to search for missing boat operator (PHOTOS, VIDEO)</H1></DIV><DIV id=articlebyline>Wendy Victora</DIV><DIV id=articledate>2009-12-21 07:28:35</DIV>

VALPARAISO ? A helicopter continued to fly over the area around Tom's Bayou Bridge Monday morning, six hours after rescue workers found a small vessel split in two by the pilings.

A boat also searched the water using sonar, according to Valparaiso Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Norris.

"They're still out there watching and waiting," Norris said. "They're trying to uncover the mystery."

Anyone in the water is presumed dead and the operation officials switched from rescue to recovery at around 8 a.m.

View a photo gallery of the rescue scene

Crews were called to 1123 North Bayshore Drive, thehome of Mike Hudson, assistant chief of the Valparaiso Fire Department, who had returned home from a fire call and heard the boat running atfull throttle.

"Mike knows the area," Norris said."He knew something was wrong."

Hudson trained a spotlight on the area and sawtheboat smashed on the pilings in the middle of the bridge. The boat, a 2005 Everglades,is owned by Jackie Coogan Mott III, who lives on Bayshore Drive in Valparaiso, according to Lt. Stan Kirkland, public information officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Apparently the family is out of town for the Christmas holidays,"Kirkland said. "The boat was moored behind the house and taken. Who it was taken by we don't know at this point."

Kirkland said investigators could find no evidence of the operator being injured and no body has been found.

"There was no blood on the boat," he said. "There's no indication that a person hit those pilings. Right now, it's kind of a who-done-it."

The boat is a 22-foot fiberglass vessel with a 225 horsepower motor on it, according to Kirkland.

"There's a possibility that they jumped out of it prior to that," he said. "Of course, the water this morning was 56 degrees. It's 100 yards or so to the bank. I can't imagine someone doing that.

"They made a search of the area," he added. "Right now they don't have too much to go on."

One of six divers fromthe Niceville FireDepartment assisted with thesearch.DiveMasterFrank Lasch spent his entire career in the Navy as a "hard-hat"or self-contained diver.

Lasch said the water was about 14 feet deep around the boat and that he had good visibility.

"If there was anybody down there, I'd have seen him right away," Lasch said.

One of the sonars in the area registered a "hit" at one point in the search. A body bag was taken out to the scene and Lasch went into the water to investigate. It turned out to be a tire, with some concrete in it and a bar sticking out, he said.

Crews from Valparaiso Police Department, Niceville Fire Department, the Okaloosa Island Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene.</DIV>
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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Default RE: Mystery Boat Wreck In Fort Walton

OUCH!! :angel :angel

Unless it was a boat thief then clap

Sucks about the boat though.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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Default RE: Mystery Boat Wreck In Fort Walton

Saw this on TV tonight - sounds a bit too convenient. Owner out of town, happned way late at night, no operator at the helm...possible insurance job? Theft? Vandalism?

Let me state I hope it is not one of our esteemed PFF forum members who lost his/her boat.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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Default RE: Mystery Boat Wreck In Fort Walton

I saw FWC towing this boat down Hwy 20, how they ever got it on a trailer I dont know it was messed up pretty bad.
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