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Missing boaters found on ocean floor

October 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities said they found the bodies of Henry Sanchez and his girlfriend.Two bodies were discovered on the ocean floor near San Pedro on Wednesday night, and on Thursday, authorities confirmed the bodies were identified as the 51-year-old brother of Congresswomen Loretta and Linda Sanchez and his girlfriend.

Divers found the bodies while attempting to recover a sunken boat on the ocean floor, believed to have carried Sanchez and his girlfriend Penny Avila, 48.

"Divers went into it and discovered the remains of Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Avila," said Chief William McSweeney from the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.

The 26-foot boat was five miles off the coast of the L.A. harbor.

Police believe Sanchez and Avila may have been on their way to Catalina late Wednesday night when their boat apparently struck a barge off San Pedro. Authorities said the skies were clear the night they traveled in the Bayliner, but there was little moon light. They are also unsure how fast their boat may have been going.

Boat debris was found by a passing boater on Thursday morning.

"Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families of Penny Avila and Henry Sanchez in the time of this tragic accident," said Capt. Paul Wiedenhoeft from the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

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