Did Missing Florida Millionaire Guma Aguiar Jump to Another Boat?
(NEW YORK) — Deepening the mystery of missing Florida millionaire Guma Aguiar’s disappearance, experts examining newly released GPS data from Aguiar’s boat say it could suggest a scenario in which he jumped ship and boarded a waiting boat mid-sea.
“The pattern is very identifiable. It just sort of fits as a scenario,” boat expert Henry Pickersgill told ABC News. “There appears to be a pattern in the vessel’s track, speed, longitude and latitude to indicate that it may have stopped briefly for enough time for Mr. Aguiar to have transferred to another vessel.”
Pickersgill is an independent marine surveyor based in Brooksville, Fla. He has been in the boat and yacht industry for over 40 years.
Aguiar, 35, was last seen on June 19 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Early the next morning, his 31-foot fishing boat, the T.T. Zion, washed up on a Fort Lauderdale beach with the engine running and lights on, but with no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.
Since then, Aguiar’s mother, Ellen, and wife, Jamie, have been embroiled in a nasty legal fight for control of his assets, valued at over $100 million.
Police are investigating his disappearance as a missing person case. While some have suggested that the financially and mentally troubled millionaire may have committed suicide, no body has been found. There have also not been any reported sightings of Aguiar.
The 37-page GPS analysis report was released by the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday. A series of maps show Aguiar’s route from the night of his disappearance, including the speed at which he was traveling at all points.
The GPS data starts at 7:29 p.m., once Aguiar had already departed from the inlet near his home. The data shows that the boat traveled northeast until it was about four miles from shore, made an unusual triangle and then drifted slowly back to shore.
“You can easily say he keeps working northeast towards whatever he’s looking for, sees it at the top of the triangle, goes to it, steps off the boat quickly, doesn’t even turn the engine off and lets it go,” expert Nathan Spaulding told ABC News. “It takes half a second to jump off another boat.”
Spaulding is an associate of Pickersgill’s. Spaulding, who is based in Marathon, Fla., is also an independent marine surveyor with over 40 years of experience. The two men looked at the Coast Guard analysis separately and then each spoke to ABC News separately.
“The top speed of the vessel was approximately 31 miles per hour at 7:35 P.M.,” the Fort Lauderdale police wrote in a news release. “At 7:56 P.M., the vessel’s GPS data shows an abrupt decrease of speed, slowing down to approximately 0.6 miles per hour, as well as a drastic change in course to head westbound.”
From there, the boast drifted southwest with speeds no greater than 3 miles per hour before it washed up on the beach and was eventually towed back to an inlet.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio