A local North County woman set sail on her own search Sunday looking for a yachter who’s been missing since Apr. 28.
Niki Burgan, founder of the SoCal H20 Rescue Team, loaded up supplies and left Sunday morning with her specially-trained dog to search for the remaining missing member of The Aegean sailing crew.
The Aagean, a 37-foot sailboat, went missing near the Coronado Islands last Saturday while sailing from Newport, Calif., to Ensenada, Mexico during the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the bodies of three crew members from the sailboat were recovered at sea on Apr. 28, but the fourth member, Theo Mavromatis, remains missing.
The Aegean sailors who were discovered right after the crash were Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Calif., and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.
Burgan continued the efforts to find Mavromatis more than a week later on Sunday by heading out to sea on her 20-foot boat.
She told NBC 7 San Diego that the missing man’s family had reached out to thank her for her efforts, which made it all worthwhile.
Burgan said she just wants to make sure his family can make a final choice in their loved one’s final resting place.
“It's my goal to always to let them know that we've exhausted every last resource available to us. For all I know, the sea may end up being this person's final resting place and they may be fine with that, but I would like to see it come at the decision of the family and not just because of [the] unfortunate circumstance. To get that one last goodbye is monumental,” she said.
Burgan’s passion for this search comes from losing her own parents and sister in a fatal plane crash at sea.
Their bodies were never recovered.
The U.S. Coast Guard has not yet officially determined what happened to The Aegean in the deadly boating accident.
On Sunday evening, the body of the fourth member of the Aegean, Theo Mavromatis, was discovered in Mexican waters, near the site of the deadly yacht race crash.
The Medical Examiner was soon able to positively identify the body as Mavromatis, of Redondo Beach.