More than two days after an abandoned fishing boat got stuck bobbing in the Pacific Ocean, U.S. Coast Guard crews were able to drag the Paloma closer to San Francisco's shores, safely removing two fuel tanks carrying 35 gallons of diesel fuel.
When the boat hit some rocks Monday about 3:30 a.m. along Ocean Beach, crews had worried the boat would be carrying 400 gallons of gasoline and that more of the fuel would have spilled into the sea. The Coast Guard estimates it will cost about $20,000 for the cleanup costs, and another $98,000 for the National Park Service to cut up the boat and drag pieces to shore.
Coast Guard Lt. Theo Vaughan said as of Wednesday morning, the boat has been pulled closer to the beach near the edge of Golden Gate Park, and that it appears there wasn't much spillage.
What stil remains much of a mystery, however, is the skipper's whereabouts.
Timothy Lybrand, 51, who has lived in Santa Cruz and Morro Bay, was the sole person on the Paloma when it apparently hit some rocks near the Cliff House. Lybrand called a friend on another ship to say he was swimming the 25 yards to shore, according to the Coast Guard. When rescue crews couldn't find Lybrand after searching for him through Monday morning, they originally thought he might have died in the cold ocean waters.
But on Tuesday, information was revealed indicating Lybrand may be hiding.
David Parker, of Parker Diving Service, which was contracted to help bring the vessel out, said investigators suspect Lybrand may have used a life boat to get to shore and "hot-footed it out of there."
According to Santa Clara County jail and court records, there is a $75,000 warrant out for Lybrand's arrest. He failed to appear for a diversion program in 2012 following a 2010 drug possession arrest.
Lybrand also had a criminal record in Santa Cruz County. In December 2001 and May 2006, he was convicted of felony evading a peace officer, according to court records. A DUI charge was dismissed in the 2001 case. Also in 1996, Lybrand was convicted of felony drug possession, according to court records.
He's also had other boating mishaps, as well.
In September 1995, Lybrand's 44-foot steel-hulled fishing boat, Bono, racing for shore because the deckhand's wife had gone into labor, missed the Santa Cruz harbor entrance by 300 yards and plowed onto Twin Lakes State Beach.
In September 2011, Lybrand and a friend were rescued from Limekiln Creek in Monterey County in the early dawn after his boat snagged on rocks. Officials reported the boat had mechanical problems.
For now, Vaugh said it's up to the National Park Service, to fully remove the vessel Lybrand was steering as it's been pulled to the high tide line. The removal process is expected to last until Friday with crews breaking the vessel into small pieces that are carted into a dump truck at the beach parking lot. The public is urged to stay away until then.
Bay City News' Sasha Lekach, the Associated Press and the Santa Cruz Sentinel contributed to this report.