Florida man missing after kayak found broken in two: Coast guard

The search is underway for a Florida man who went missing during a recent kayaking trip with his friends, the Coast Guard confirmed.

The man, identified by friends and family as Eiffel Gilyana, 46, had been kayaking in the St. Augustine Inlet in northern Florida on Saturday morning, just off Vilano Beach. At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the two friends who had been accompanying him said he vanished from their sight, according to a Facebook post from the Jax Fire Dragons boating team. Some time later, they found Gilyana’s kayak broken in half. His friends also noted that he had not been wearing a life jacket prior to his disappearance.

“Eiffel Gilyana (40s) is missing off of Vilano Beach,” the post read. “He went paddling with 2 other individuals but they lost sight of him. They found his ama, iakus and boat (broken in half) but no signs of Eiffel. We need more boats on the water to aid in the search. He’s been missing since 10am. He went in by the pavillion in vilano beach, Atlantic Ocean side.”

Coast Guard crews using Cutter Tarpon boats were deployed to search the area into the night, the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast confirmed in its own Facebook post, with further crews and partner agencies joining the search on Sunday morning.

Newsweek reached out to the Coast Guard via email for comment.

A Florida man went missing off the coast of St. Augustine Saturday during a kayaking trip with friends.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Gilyana went missing off the coast of St. Augustine, a prominent Florida port city noted as the oldest continuously inhabited non-indigenous settlement in the United States, having been established by Spanish explorers in 1565. The city is situated roughly 40 miles southeast of Jacksonville, one of the largest metro areas in the state.

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A prominent member of the region’s fitness community, Gilyana works as the Fitness & Wellness Director for the Jewish Community Alliance (JCA), having started with the organization in 2009. He has also taken part in numerous other fitness-related and athletic pursuits, with his JCA profile page noting that he once played soccer competitively and has been nationally ranked in bodybuilding.

“A passionate leader and role model to our JCA community, Eiffel says he is always sure to never take anything for granted and to stay positive even in difficult times,” the profile reads. “Eiffel says our JCA community is his family and his home away from home – he is passionate about sharing his knowledge of fitness and wellness with our valued members and staff.”

Prior to his time with the JCA, Gilyana’s family told Action News Jax that he had worked with the U.S. military in Iraq from 2003 to 2009. He also currently works as a health and wellness advisor for Task Force Hydro 1, a non-profit that serves veterans and first responders.