Police say it is “extremely unlikely” missing sailor Mark Clarke is still alive.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service announced Thursday that their search and rescue operation for the retired policeman was now a search and recovery mission.
Mr. Clarke, 63, a veteran sailor who represented the Cayman Islands in two Olympics, left Rackley’s Canal in the North Sound on a solo fishing trip on Monday. His 25-foot sailboat, Badger, was found unmanned, lodged on the reef around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Inspector Ian Yearwood, the RCIPS Marine Commander, said, “We know that Mr. Clarke left to go fishing on his own on Monday morning around 7 a.m. and it wasn’t unusual for him to spend a few days at sea.
“It’s now been two days since his sailboat was found on the reef and, despite a widespread air, land and sea search, no trace of Mr. Clarke has been found.”
Insp. Yearwood said police spoke with Mr. Clarke’s family Wednesday night and advised them that they believed “it was now extremely unlikely that he would be found alive.”
“As such, the police operation has now moved into a search and recovery phase,” Mr. Yearwood said. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
The search, involving the Joint Marine Unit, RCIPS Air Operations Unit, the Departmen of Environment, and several private boaters, has covered an area of 79 miles.
Shoreline searches from Kaibo towards Old Man Bay were being carried out Thursday, police said.
Police are appealing for anyone who saw Mr. Clarke or his sailboat between 7 a.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. on Tuesday to contact Sergeant Richard Scott on 325-8092.