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Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFrenchtown Fisherman David Turbe Missing at Sea

Frenchtown Fisherman David Turbe Missing at Sea

A massive sea search in the waters off Frenchtown, St. Thomas, continued all day Monday for local fisherman David Turbe. Turbe, a well-loved Frenchtown institution, has lived here all his life.

The search conducted by the Sea Tow V.I., U.S. Coast Guard, V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and a dozen or so local boats was joined later in the day by a San Juan-based Coast Guard helicopter.

The search was called off late Monday when darkness fell and will be resumed Tuesday morning, according to Sea Tow Capt. Alan Wentworth and Turbe’s brother, Kenny Turbe.

Though he was last seen Sunday around noon, no one realized he was missing until Monday morning when he didn’t return home. Kenny Turbe, also a fisherman, said, "I was pulling traps this morning when my son called and said David is missing.”

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The Coast Guard was alerted Sunday to a kayak loose in the cut between Hassel Island and Frenchtown, and towed the boat back to a sheltered area near Oceana Restaurant. Sea Tow was alerted early Monday.

Wentworth said, “We searched checking everywhere we could think of. We hauled a sled behind us and hired two divers in the afternoon. They found David’s snorkel in a lobster snare in the area where the kayak had been found.”

Kenny Turbe said David Turbe dove in the area between Hassel Island and Frenchtown.

Turbe was last seen Sunday by a fellow diver, who declined to use his name, who said, "David went his way and I went mine. He crossed to Hassel Island and I went in the water toward the radio station, to the jetty and back.”

“The current was really strong. When I returned the tide was going out. I didn’t see David,” the snorkeler said.

Kenny Turbe didn’t hold out much hope Monday evening.

"I’ve been fishing for years and that current yesterday was the strongest I have ever seen,” he said. “The water looked flat on top, but that current was strong. It was so strong that we pulled only six strings of pots. We couldn’t find the rest because of the current.”

He said his brother did free diving for lobster with his spear gun. There were a couple lobster in the kayak. Holding back his emotions, Monday evening, Kenny Turbe seemed resigned to having lost his brother. "We’ll begin again tomorrow,” he said.

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