- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

MIAMI (AP) - A second body was recovered Thursday as crews continued searching the Gulf of Mexico for a family missing off of southwest Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

Cape Coral Fire and Rescue found the body Thursday morning, about 4 miles from where searchers found another body Wednesday, a Coast Guard news release said.

Authorities have not released the identity of either body.

Also on Thursday searchers found a sailboat mast.

U.S. Coast Guard crews had spotted what appeared to be a white flare early Thursday morning.

“Again we continue to hold out hope,” Capt. Gregory Case said in a news conference Thursday. “It’s an active search and rescue mission.”

But officials said the outlook appeared “dire.”

Case said rescue crews found a bucket with items that belonged to Ace Kimberly, 45, and children, Roger, 13, Donny, 15 and Rebecca, 17. It contained birth certificates, a GPS, wallet, cellphone and cigarettes, Case said. The bucket was found about 5 ½ miles away from where the body was found Wednesday afternoon. Searchers also found a tool box and a pool noodle.

The father and children had been living on the boat in Sarasota Bay. They went missing Sunday while traveling to Fort Myers, about 77 miles south of Sarasota, to fix their boat, Case said.

Kimberly contacted his brother that afternoon, saying they were caught up in “6-foot waves and thunderstorms,” Case said. The brother reported them missing Tuesday and the Coast Guard immediately launched search crews by air and sea.

On Wednesday, two kayaks were found but only one was identified as belonging to the missing family, the Coast Guard said. During a search on Thursday morning, another kayak was found that belonged to the Kimberly family.

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