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Families of missing Venice boaters gather for support, holding out hope

U.S. Coast Guard halted search after more than 48 hours of active searching
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Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 20, 2024

VENICE, Fla. — Family members of the four missing crew members are speaking out over the U.S. Coast Guard's decision to suspend its search.

The four men are Angel Hernandez Munoz, Ruben Mora Sr., Julio Cesar Cordero Briones, and Vargas Parra.

“We just don’t know how this could have happened," Danna Corona, the stepdaughter of Angel Hernandez Munoz, said. "We know they’re alive. We just got to keep looking for them. We just can’t give up. They’re still alive. They’re still out there."

The men launched a boat out of Marina Park early Saturday and never returned.

The U.S. Coast Guard ultimately made the call to suspend its search Monday evening.

The agency said crews searched for about 60 hours and covered more than 10,000 square nautical miles.

Family members of the missing men said more must be done to find them.

They’re hopeful they’re still alive.

“I know my father," Ruben Mora Jr. said. "He’s not just going to sit around and get wet. He probably went south, and said, ‘You know what guys, we’re not going to sit around in this storm. It’s getting pretty ugly. We’re going to ride this out until we’re out of gas and then the sun will come up in the morning and somebody will find us.”

Family members said they believe the four men went further south.

"There's multiple other places they can look and other avenues they can take," Ruben Mora Jr. said. "I don't think right now is the time to give up. Right now is the most crucial point. It's been four days now."

They’re urging the public to help in any way possible.