Florida Keys

Coast Guard calls off search for another Florida Keys boater — the second one this week

For the second time in as many days, the Coast Guard has had to suspend its search for a missing boater out of the Florida Keys.

On Friday, the rescue team called off its search for 56-year-old Lance Arnold Hartkopp, who, the Coast Guard said, had left his Overseas Highway home Wednesday to sail his 20-foot Cuddy Cabin vessel from Blimp Road Boat Ramp in Cudjoe Key.

Hartkopp’s 2001 Dodge Ram pickup — with his phone still inside — and boat trailer were at the end of Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key, his roommate had told deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the week.

The Coast Guard’s Key West sector had received calls from worried family members on Wednesday when Hartkopp didn’t return as expected. Partner agencies including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Navy and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

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In a statement, Cmdr. Blanca Rosas, search and rescue mission coordinator with Coast Guard Sector Key West, said the decision to halt the search was difficult.

“Our hope is to be able to reunite people with their family and friends,” she said.

On Thursday, the Coast Guard also suspended its search for John Gyurtsak, 64, of Big Pine Key.

Gyurstak was last seen in his 34-foot pleasure craft, Thermocline, after it left Big Pine Key before 2 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard said.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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