(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Florida millionaire and philanthropist Guma Aguiar is missing after his yacht washed ashore with the ignition running and lights on, but with no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police responded to a report of a beached boat early Wednesday morning and police identified Aguiar, 35, as the owner of the 31-foot vessel.
After finding his boat, authorities went to Aguiar’s home to speak to his wife Jamie Aguiar. She said that when she arrived home the night before, she believed her husband was in the home office, according to police.
One of the couple’s employees told Jamie Aguiar that her husband had actually gone out on his boat at around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
“No one has seen Guma since,” Fort Lauderdale police wrote in a statement. “Jamie told officers that she is concerned for her husband’s safety.”
The U.S. Coast Guard, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Lauderdale Police Marine Units are searching for Aguiar. Police believe he is “endangered” and have said they are not ruling anything out at this point.
Though the boat’s engine was running and lights were on, one important piece of the boat was broken — the tie rod, experts at Sea Tow, the company that towed Aguiar’s boat from the beach, told ABC News’ Miami affiliate WPLG. The rod holds the boat’s two motors parallel and without the rod, the boat could lose control, which may have knocked him overboard.
Guma Aguiar’s mother would like to hope for the best, but she is realistic about the fate her son may have met.
“I would be delighted to hear that he was kidnapped and being taken great care of, and I believe in miracles and would hope for a miracle. I think, realistically, what happened is pretty clear,” Ellen Aguiar told ABC News. “The likelihood is that he was tossed off the boat into the waves. The boat was found, but the body has not been found.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Mariel Turner, Kacey Montoya & Nerissa Knight, KTLA
Ashley Strickland, CNN
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Betsy Klein, CNN