UPDATE: Three fishermen remain missing in the Gulf; boat found overturned

Washington Family.JPG

UPDATE: [7/19/18 11:00 p.m.]

Meghan Coopers said her grandfather, and two uncles are avid fisherman.

It's family tradition for the group to fish for their favorite catch, Red Snapper.

"They've been boating for for 35 years," Coopers said. "You know, water, weather... it's nothing to them."

Around 5 a.m. Wednesday, the three launched their 17-foot Cape Horn boat from the Navy Point Boat Ramp in Pensacola.

Coopers said they went to their typical fishing spot, a few miles offshore in the Gulf.

However, by nearly 1 a.m. the next morning, 86-year-old David Washington and his two sons, David Washington Jr. and Darryl Washington, were no where to be seen.

"They do it every single year. For 35 years. They didn't do anything differently," said Coopers, with tears in her eyes.

Coopers knew something wasn't right.

She went by the boat ramp, only to find her grandpa's car and boat trailer still in the lot.

She then called the Coast Guard and reported the three missing around 2 a.m.

Boats, helicopters and planes were deployed to find them.

"We saw one of the sheriff's boats come by us at about 50 miles per hour and we saw a couple helicopters coming towards the same direction," said Joshua Falkner, a local charter boat captain.

"We saw another plane come out, a bigger plane and we figured they must be looking for something," Falkner added.

Around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, a boat matching Washington's boat was spotted, capsized.

By the afternoon, it was recovered and towed into the Navy Point Boat Ramp.

"My grandfather who is 86... and my two uncles- 65 and 62 and they all have grandchildren and children," said Coopers.

Family members are remaining hopeful, praying the three are still found alive.

Coopers said when the boat was recovered,

"If anybody, you know, let us know if we have any information. We'd just really love to have our loved ones back," said Coopers.

The Coast Guard said they did track a cell phone ping from one of the boaters.

The phone pinged around 5 p.m. Wednesday night, about five miles off the coast of Pensacola. It hasn't pinged since.


The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for three boaters that left from Pensacola.

According to the Coast Guard, the boaters launched their 17-foot Cape Horn from the Navy Point boat launch on Bayou Grande on yesterday to go to a "snapper hole" to fish.

According to family, they never returned so they alerted authorities around 1:45 a.m. Thursday.

The U.S. Coast Guard did get a ping from a cell phone.

They recovered the overturned vessel around 7:30 a.m. Thursday three miles south of Pensacola.

The boat has been towed into Navy Point Boat Ramp by FWC.

The Coast Guard identified the missing boaters as:

David Washington, 86-years-old, from Pensacola

David Washington Jr., age and hometown unknown

Darryl Washington, age and hometown unknown

The family tells us Mr. Washington also had his two dogs on board including a Yorkie and a mini pin mix. We will speak to the family tonight at 10 p.m.

The following agencies are involved in the search:

Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircrew

Coast Guard Station Pensacola 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew

Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew

Coast Guard Cutter Gannet crew

Florida Fish and Wildlife helicopter crew

Escambia County Search and Rescue

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