The family of Keion Jamir Dade still has hope.
Some 20 family members, including the mother and father of the 24-year-old Moreno Valley resident, set out from Huntington Beach in three jet boats guided by spotter airplanes on Friday, June 18, to continue the search for the son who went overboard off the Jet Cat Express en route to Catalina Island on June 10.
The searches will continue daily “until God reveals otherwise,” said one of Dade’s cousins, Asia Hardy.
The Coast Guard told the family that the currents likely would have swept Dade from where he was last seen about 3 miles off Long Beach into the waters off Orange County, Hardy said.
“We pray for a miracle that he is found alive, but we know it is a small chance,” said Dade’s father, Kiyam Dade Sr. “We want to give the family closure and at least give him a proper burial. … I guess his cemetery will be the ocean if we don’t find him.”
The U.S. Coast Guard searched for slightly more than 24 hours after Dade somehow wound up in the ocean. Dade, of Moreno Valley, was headed to Catalina Island with his girlfriend. Dade had made the trip several times before, his family said.
Hardy called on the Coast Guard to resume its search and asked any divers and pilots to assist.
Coast Guard Lt. Benjamin McIntyre said rescuers weigh several factors in deciding how long to search, including a person’s height and weight, air and water temperature and whether the seas are rough or calm. As time passes, he said, the size of the area to search grows by many miles.
The seas had swells of about 2-3 feet with winds of less than 10 knots when Dade went overboard about 6 p.m., McIntyre said. A crew member threw a life preserver to Dade, but he could not be rescued.
“I completely understand the family’s concern and wanting him to be found, and if there was a person on the surface of the water … I am certain he would have been seen by no fewer than one of the 15 responding agencies,” McIntyre said. “If there was any chance that he was in a position to be helped, the Coast Guard would spare no expense to bring about a positive outcome.”
Dade is listed as a missing person on the state Department of Justice website. He was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, the bulletin says.
The investigation is now examining the practices of the crew and whether safety standards were followed, among other things, McIntyre said. The Coast Guard has received a video of the incident from the ferry operator Catalina Express but declined to describe specifically what it shows.
The family said Dade had everything to live for.
Dade was elected prom king at Canyon Springs High in Moreno Valley.
“He has a magnetic personality that everybody loves,” Kiyam Dade Sr. said. “Keion would never take sides. I don’t know if he’s ever had an argument with any of his siblings. He’s just a very thoughtful, kind person.”
Dade’s mother, Bernadette, considered her son a confidant who was outgoing, intelligent and inquisitive.
“He used to paint the kids’ shoes for them and put the rips in the jeans for the kids and make it look just like the store-bought versions,” she said.
Just before Dade disappeared, he received financing to purchase a dump truck for the fledgling trucking company he planned to operate with his brother Kiyam Dade Jr. Dade had been practicing by driving for his father’s business.
“He was very ecstatic,” his father said.
Dade was able to make his company a reality when his father helped him with the cost of insurance. That prompted Dade to send his father a text that read: “I love you, Dad.”
It was the last text Kiyam Sr. would receive from his son.
“It’s such a blessing that I can look at that every day,” he said.
Source: Orange County Register