Fisherman vanishes without a trace

December 29, 2008 4:49:19 PM PST
The US Coast Guard spent Monday searching the waters near Beach City for a fisherman who hasn't been seen since his boat capsized in Trinity Bay Saturday evening. The other four people on the boat with him survived by holding onto a cooler.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The family has been huddled around a campfire on shore near the search area keeping vigil since the accident. They have remained hopeful that the person they love will be found.

Raul Blanco and his wife Jessica were on the boat that capsized in Trinity Bay on Saturday. They were among four people who were able to make it back to shore. Blanco told Eyewitness News that his cousin, Michael Ayala, was not able to swim and did not make it to shore.

Ayala's family has spent the past two and a half days at Beach City, looking for him.

"Right now it's hard to say he's alive," admitted Umberto Aparicio, a family member. "But the first day we came here, we think that maybe he could be alive. The next day, the same thing. We don't find anything."

With no life jackets on board, Blanco, his wife and two other family members were able to float by clinging to a cooler. They believe Ayala was scared, and became weighted down by the two jackets he was wearing.

Blanco described the waves as being about two to three feet, enough to capsize the boat.

The Chambers County Sheriff's Department has not been able to find Ayala, or the boat. Family members, meanwhile, remain vigilant and committed to finding their loved one.

Family member Evelyn Zavala said, "Everyone has been walking around, looking? You know, friends? We're very pleased with the people around here, because they've been trying to help us."

Family members say they will not give up the search, or hope.

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