Updated 09:09 AM EST, Sun, Jan 17, 2021

Surfer Disappears from Dominican Republic Beach: Officials on the Lookout

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Darryl Fornatora of West Palm Beach, South Florida was last seen on January 27 at the El Encuentro beach in the Dominican Republic, where he was surfing with a friend. However, despite being seen getting out of the water, local authorities are on the lookout for him as he apparently vanished from the beach and didn't get on his return flight, which was supposedly set for January 31.

Yahoo! News said that an officer from the investigation named Sgt Rosario mentioned that it may be possible that Fornatora got into a water-related accident. The use of search dogs and interviews with employees from nearby bars and restaurants did not give them anything to go on.

Cabarete Bay had been the location of professional kitesurfing competitions and the nearby Playa Encuentro, where Fornatora had been surfing. It is one of the most popular beaches in the Caribbean. Sgt. Rosario told Fox News, "We are doing an extensive search of the area, the beach and the surrounding hilly areas for any clues. At the moment we have not found anything."

Following their suspicions of a water-related accident, a helicopter is on the lookout for 80 kilometers of the coastline around Puerto Plata, and divers were sent to search in the ocean.

Crime Stoppers Dominican Republic was also reported to have been helping in the investigation. Organization member Leon Alter said that some people reported Fornatora walking along the beach in a "paranoid state."

Fornatora's brother and sister-in-law, seemingly distraught, arrived on the island to help with the search. Speaking with the Palm Beach Post, the missing man's father said that he spoke with his son just a day before his disappearance.

Gilbert Fornatora told the outlet, "He said that everything was fine, that he had spent plenty of time in the water that day and he was exhausted. He said to my wife, 'I love you,' and that was it."

Alter remains confident, however, that Fornatora will be found. He mentioned that he had a similar case a year ago, and the man that went missing was found in the jungle six days later. Speaking about the current case, he said "We're crossing our fingers. It's important for the family to keep their hopes high. We're working very hard on this case."

Until then, anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Darryl Fornatora is encouraged to call Leon Alter and the Crime Stoppers Dominican Republic or Sgt Rosario at the Cabarete Police Department. A 100,000 RD reward has been offered for his safe return.

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