Unmanned kayak prompts Coast Guard search

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search for a possible person in the water, hours after an unmanned kayak was discovered early Tuesday afternoon.

Crews covered nearly 22 square miles over a period of four-and-a-half hours since beginning their search in the Intracoastal Waterway, just before 2 p.m.  There were no sightings of anyone in distress, and the Coast Guard hadn't received any reports of missing or overdue persons in the area. 

"This case has been classified as an unconfirmed person in the water," said Chief Petty Officer Randy Corbett, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. "The items found inside the kayak indicated possible recent use, which is why we worked closely with our partner agencies to investigate the matter."

A person spotted the red, 15-foot kayak drifting in the Intracoastal Waterway around 12:3o p.m. The report stated the kayak had personal equipment inside, including a pair of shoes, a bait bucket, cigarette butts, and a water cooler.

The Coast Guard launched crews aboard a 24-foot small boat from Coast Guard Station Ponce de Leon Inlet and a crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater to search.  Other agencies involved in the search included crews from Volusia County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.