MIAMI (WSVN) - Crews are searching for a South Florida visitor who went missing while boating near Virginia Key.
7News cameras captured U.S. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter near Miami Marine Stadium as they searched for Joustin Chavez, Saturday afternoon.
According to a friend, Chavez was one of about 15 people who set sail on the Miami River on a rented boat at around 4 p.m. on Friday.
Chavez, 26, came to Miami from Virginia with his sister and close friends with plans for a weekend of freedom, fun and two days of reggaeton at a popular festival.
One of his friends, Victor Camacho, spoke with 7News on the phone. He said they didn’t know he had gone missing until several hours after they left the stadium area.
“It wasn’t until around possibly 7 p.m. that they couldn’t find him,” he said.
Camacho said the people on board the boat exactly what happened, but they didn’t see Chavez for a while.
“Joustin must have gone from the front of the ship to the back of the ship, going through the side of a ledge on the boat, and then when he had slipped off,” said Camacho.
Camacho said Chavez can swim, but he doesn’t think his friend was wearing a life jacket at the time.
As Coast Guard crews continue their search, Camacho said he hopes another boater found his friend.
“One thing with Joustin is he does get lost. I have seen him lost on occasion,” he said. “If he doesn’t have his phone, possibly, or anything, he’s not going to be able to contact someone.”
Speaking off camera with 7News, Chavez’s sister said she hopes the Coast Guard can find her brother and that people who know something about his whereabouts come forward with a tip. She said family members are concerned and were flying to Miami Saturday night.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.