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California Briefing / SAN PEDRO

Wreck may be of missing boat

October 08, 2008|JEAN MERL

Dive teams searching for two boaters who have been missing since last week found the wreckage of a recreational vessel on the ocean floor off San Pedro on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

A boat matching the description of the 26-foot Bayliner that had been carrying Henry Sanchez, 51, and Penny Avila, 48, both of Santa Ana, was discovered at 12:20 p.m. It was found upside down on the ocean floor, five miles south of the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor, at a depth of about 150 feet.

Members of the sheriff's dive team and the Los Angeles Port Police believe it may be the same boat, based on photos of the missing vessel and the location of the wreckage.

Sanchez is the brother of Orange County Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez.

The Sheriff's Department and Port Police were planning to try to re-float the boat this morning.

If the boat is recovered, it will be turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard for further investigation.

Authorities began searching for Sanchez and Avila after a passing boater saw debris last Thursday and reported it to the Coast Guard. Searchers believe the boat may have collided with a barge. The couple had left Los Alamitos Bay for Santa Catalina Island late last Wednesday night but never arrived.

-- Jean Merl

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