Guma Aguiar missing millionaire:Police release GPS report for fishing boat he was last seen boarding

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-- The long-awaited analysis of the GPS report for the vessel Fort Lauderdale multimillionaire Guma Aguiar was last seen boarding June 19 was released by police Thursday. It sheds little light on what may have happened to the vanished, married father of four.

"It shows the boat being operated and then drifting," said Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Steven Novak. "It never stops until it hits the sand [on Fort Lauderdale beach]. Even when it slowed down to less than 2 mph, it was still moving about 80-feet per minute."

Aguiar was captured on surveillance video steering the 31-foot T.T. Zion away from his private dock in the tony Rio Vista Isles section of Fort Lauderdale. It was 7 p.m., and there was a small craft warning for area waters.

If he was aboard the T.T. Zion when it went to sea, Aguiar met 20 mph wind gusts and Atlantic waves of up to 5 feet, while isolated thunderstorms threatened.

Novak says a boat captain who was doing a burial at sea that night witnessed the boat "wave jumping, driving really fast as it came out of Port Everglades. He saw just one man in the boat, and no other boats around him," Novak said.

TheU.S. Coast Guardreport released by police shows the T.T. Zion traveled a shark-fin shaped path.

The boat's GPS system was turned on at 7:29 p.m., when it was about 2 nautical miles off Fort Lauderdale and was traveling 17 to 20 mph.

It shows as the boat headed straight northeast, it slowed down to 8 mph during small turns and at other times, reached speeds of up to 31 mph.

The boat turned southeast and at 7:56 p.m. when the T.T. Zion was about 3.5 nautical miles offshore where the ocean is about 600 feet deep, it slowed to about .6 mph.

Then, "There was a dramatic decleration and change of course, back toward land," Novak said of the boat's path as it curved tightly west and drifted southwest at speeds of .5 to 2.5 mph over five hours.

"From our indications it does not appear that the boat ever came to a complete stop," he said.

Employees at Fort Lauderdale's Elbo Room beachfront bar saw the ghost vessel heading to the beach, Novak said, and as it came closer, "They realized there was nobody on it."

The T.T. Zion came ashore unmanned around 1 a.m. June 20, its lights and ignition on. The throttles were forward, in gear, and there was gas in the tanks, but the engines were not running, Novak said.

"It could have stalled," he said.

The tie bar that connected its twin outboard engines was broken. If the tie bar had come unattached while the boat was traveling fast, the twin engines would not have worked in harmony, and a sharp turn could pitch a boater overboard.

Novak is not prepared to say if that was Aguiar's fate.

"No one can say what happened," Novak said. "He is still considered a missing person."

Though there have been local sightings of Aguiar reported to police, none were confirmed, the sergeant said.

"We're getting a lot fewer calls on this one than we typically do in a case like this," Novak said.

Could this have been a planned escape by Aguiar, who struggled with mental health, was plagued by massive lawsuits that threatened his $100 million fortune and had a turbulent marriage?

"If he did stage his disappearance, someone with his means could be difficult to find," Novak said. "And that's a big if."

The investor's cigarettes, wallet and cellphone were left behind in a dry box on board, and a T-shirt and flip-flops were also found.

There was no sign of foul play, police said, and all the T.T. Zion's life vests were accounted for.

"Remember," Novak said, "with a lot of people who fall off of cruise ships, those bodies aren't often recovered, either."

The police investigtion goes on.

Novak said aspects of Aguiar's life, including his finances and iPhone, are still being reviewed.

"We're checking all angles and looking at everything," he said.


Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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