SOUTHWEST FLORIDA – Search and rescue efforts for a missing Naples doctor continue in the Gulf of Mexico as U.S. Coast Guard crews expand their search into Friday.
According to USCG, the 33-foot “Vitamin Sea” vessel was found 26 nautical miles away from the shores of Naples and 12 miles off the coast of Sanibel area.
USCG officials said crews are keeping Dr. Chaundre Cross’s boat anchored where it was found while the investigation is on going.
The boat had no “obvious damage” and no one was found on board the boat.
Officials said this is currently a “search and rescue for person in water” and not a recovery.
USCG crews will be back out searching the Gulf into Friday night.
For more than two days, USCG crews have launched from Fort Myers Beach to search for 49-year-old Cross, saying finding someone in the water can be difficult.
“Looking for a person in the water is very difficult cause it’s almost like looking for a coconut in the water,” said Petty Officer First Class Ayla Hudson. “For searching in the water we do have models that take into account the tide and currents, weather and the direction of the wind.”
The Oncologist left Naples Bay Marina early Wednesday morning. According to law enforcement, his wife reported him missing when he never came back.
“The goal is to always have more than one asset in the water searching,” said Hudson speaking to the rescue operations. “So often it will be a boat station and a helicopter or plane. So you have a down low and up high look at things.”
Cross’s wife declined to comment on his disappearance while crews are still searching.
Cross works for Genesis Care as an oncologist in Naples. His office sent NBC 2 this statement:
“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our employees and patients. We are concerned for the well-being and safety of Dr. Cross and are here to support all of our employees and to ensure the continuation of care for our patients.”
Deputies with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) are also assisting with the investigation.
USCG said anyone with information about Dr. Cross’ location can contact the Coast Guard Command Center at (727)824-7506 or contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300.