Desperate search for Quiksilver CEO lost at sea after empty boat found off French coast

French authorities deployed boats and helicopters Wednesday as part of the desperate search for Pierre Agnes, the chief executive of sportswear maker Quiksilver whose empty boat was discovered washed ashore Tuesday.

Wednesday's search focused on the coast of southwest France one day after Agnes’ boat was found on a beach at Hossegor, about 20 miles north of Biarritz.

The speedboat belonging to sportswear maker Quiksilver CEO Pierre Agnes lays ashore on the beach of Hossegor, southwestern France, Tuesday, Jan. 30 2018. Authorities have sent boats and helicopters off the coast of southwest France to search for Pierre Agnes, after his empty boat was found washed ashore. (AP Photo)

Pierre Agnes' boat was found washed ashore off the coast of France.  (AP)

Agnes, 54, vanished Tuesday after he went on a fishing trip, The Guardian reported. It was not immediately clear if the CEO was alone on the boat or had been with other people.

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The father of three messaged port authorities Tuesday telling them he was postponing his return due to thick fog, Reuters reported.

Maritime authorities said two boats and three helicopters were involved in the search.

The speedboat belonging to sportswear maker Quiksilver CEO Pierre Agnes lays ashore on the beach of Hossegor, southwestern France, Tuesday, Jan. 30 2018. Authorities have sent boats and helicopters off the coast of southwest France to search for Pierre Agnes, after his empty boat was found washed ashore. (AP Photo)

It was not immediately clear if anybody was traveling with Pierre Agnes.  (AP)

Quiksilver, known for its surf wear, was founded in Australia but is now majority-owned by an American investment group and based in Huntington Beach, Calif. Agnes was the head of its France-based European headquarters before being named CEO of the whole company in 2015. Agnes has been with the company for some 30 years.

A board signals danger on the beach of Hossegor, southwestern France, during searches for the chief executive of sportswear maker Quiksilver Pierre Agnes, Wednesday, Jan.31, 2018. French authorities have deployed boats and helicopters off the coast of southwest France to search for Agnes after his empty boat was found washed ashore Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Maritime authorities said two boats and three helicopters were involved in the search for Quiksilver CEO Pierre Agnes.  (AP)

The company said in a statement to NBC News that they were “devastated by this news.”

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“The Boardriders family and entire surfing world are devastated by this news,” the statement read. “We are concentrating on working with the local authorities on the search and rescue effort and supporting Pierre's family.”

Kelly Slater, an American professional surfer, posted on Instagram that he was “praying for a miracle” in the search for Agnes.

“I love this man. Pierre Agnes went missing in Hossegor today when his boat washed ashore in the cold, early morning fog. I’m praying for a miracle but it’s just starting to hit me what a profound effect this man had on my life and the surf community at large. He loved his morning fishing trips, family, Quiksilver, surfing, friends, motorbikes, Capbreton...I’m not even sure how to let it sink in,” he wrote. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.