FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The ghost vessel discovered on Fort Lauderdale beach appeared intact and seaworthy to a Sea Tow captain who motored through four-foot waves toward it in the predawn darkness on Wednesday.
Authorities resumed their search Thursday for a missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire whose boat was found washed ashore with the lights on and engine running.
U.S. Coast Guard Officials said they began resumed searching at daybreak for 33-year-old Guma Aguiar, whose 31-foot boat washed up early Wednesday in the 300 block of South Atlantic Boulevard.
Three Coast Guard boats and a HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane were searching an area three nautical miles off shore and seven miles north to south from the area where the boat was found, Coast Guard spokesman Jon-Paul Rios said.
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale Police said they're looking into evidence of the disappearance, including the GPS device that was recovered from the boat.
"The case is really strange," Fort Lauderdale Police spokesman Travis Mandell said Thursday. "A lot of things don't add up."
Mandell said an employee told Aguiar's wife that he went out on the boat around 7:30 Tuesday night. Police received a 911 call around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday that a boat was washed ashore and when officer arrived, they found it empty with the ignition running and navigational lights on.
A worker who towed the boat said he noticed critical damage to a rod binding the boat's two engines.
"When a tie rod does break, there's a possibility that, you know, the vessel will change direction pretty abruptly, and if that happens, you know, you could lose balance, fall overboard and whatnot," Seatow's Gregory Mallek said.
Mandell said authorities are exploring every possibility.
"The fact that the gentleman would get on to his boat and decide to go out into such treacherous seas where there is such inclement weather and strong riptide currents doesn't make sense for us right now," Mandell said Wednesday.
Aguiar, a Brazilian-born businessman and philanthropist, made millions in the oil industry. The father of four, who is known for his charity work and giving in Israel, also has a record of arrests in South Florida.
His record includes a drug possession arrest in 2009 in which he claimed he was attacked and called anti-Semitic slurs by Broward Sheriff's deputies. He pleaded no contest and paid a fine, according to court records.
Then, in June 2011, Aguiar was arrested for stalking, according to Fort Lauderdale Police. That case was concluded with Aguiar given probation, according to court records.
Family friend Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc said they just want him back safe.
"We're all hoping and praying that he'll be found and he'll be safe," Lipszyc said. "The family is completely devastated and nervous. We have to find him and he has to be found safe and secure."
Police say Aguiar is considered endangered and anyone with information on his disappearance is asked to call Fort Lauderdale Police at 954-828-5700.