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Dead man found floating near mysterious boat wreckage off Florida coast

U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is asking members of the public to help identify the source of a debris field, which included this large portion of a vessel, spotted Sunday in the Atlantic Ocean about 22 miles east of Jacksonville.

The U.S. Coast Guard is trying to figure out what happened to a deceased man found floating in the Atlantic Ocean Sunday near the wreckage of a boat about 22 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., according to authorities.

The search for potential survivors continued Monday, with Coast Guard boats on the scene gathering evidence and looking for other people who may have been on the boat, said Lt. Grant Johnson, a Coast Guard public affairs officer.

Investigators have not yet identified the boat and don't know where it came from or where it was headed, Johnson said.

Approximately 10 life jackets were found near the boat debris, but the Coast Guard has not found evidence that other people were on the boat.

"We're working under the assumption other people were on board," Johnson said. "We're going to err on the side of safety. With the lack of evidence we're inclined to continue searching until we know otherwise."

The Coast Guard found the man's passport and believe he is a 49-year-old who last lived in Miami, according to Johnson. His body was recovered and taken to the medical examiner's office in Jacksonville, Johnson said.

Officials declined to identify the man pending notification of his family. The Coast Guard is working with local law enforcement to find his family and figure out what may have happened to the boat.

The Coast Guard did not receive a distress call related to the vessel, two large pieces of which were found near the body, Johnson said.

The wreckage was first spotted around 6 p.m. Sunday evening by an aircrew from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Coast Guard searched through the night for survivors, with boats and aircraft involved in the operation. Bad weather in the Jacksonville area prevented Coast Guard aircraft from searching the debris field this morning, but three boats remained on the scene looking for survivors and gathering evidence, Johnson said.