Family of missing swimmer questions short search

Published: Updated:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – While the U.S. Coast Guard searches for the missing Kimberly family, the family of Javier Castro, who went missing last weekend in the Gulf, has questions about why the search for him was cut short.

“I remember losing my hearing, losing my vision, I was praying to God. I looked at my brother and I tell him — I’m so glad I got to tell him I love him,” 19-year-old Chris Castro said.

Chris, Javier’s younger brother, was one of the three people Javier saved on Saturday when they got caught in a rip current while swimming near Boca Grande. By the time Chris was lifted up to a jet ski, Javier was gone.

“I remember seeing the guy also throw the life jacket in, it was a black life jacket and that was the last time I saw my brother.”

The Coast Guard searched hundreds of miles for Javier over 24 hours, but ultimately called off the search — something his family is struggling to understand.

“It’s so wrong that they called off his search so quick, 24 hours? How can you give up on somebody after 24 hours?”

The Coast Guard says it wasn’t an easy decision to be made.

“The search for Javier still weighs heavily on our minds and something we are considering,” Coast Guard chief NyxoLyno Cangemi said with USCG said. “These two cases are drastically different with so many different variables.”

The Kimberly family has been lost at sea since Sunday, when they set out for Fort Myers Beach from Sarasota. They are said to have sent text messages that they were in a storm with 6-foot waves. The Coast Guard said that because little is known about when and where they went missing, the search has lasted longer and covered a greater distance.

“When we have a search area that’s smaller in size, we hit it with three assets. We are able to cover that search area many multiple of times in search for that individual,” Chief Cangemi explained. “When we have a much broader search area and we have the same amount of resources or even more, they are spread out in a larger area and it doesn’t get that same amount of coverage.”
The Coast Guard said Javier didn’t have the life jacket that his brother saw thrown to him, but that’s one thing Chris says he can never forget, and he’s not giving up.
“This family, that is devastating for them also. I feel for them the same way I know they could feel for me, but the way I feel for them they could also understand that you can’t give up on them,” Chris said.
The Castro family plans to search on their own on Tuesday using boats donated by one of Javier’s coworkers. If you would like to help the Castro family, click on this link.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.