Two Coast Guard Searches End Badly

Mar 12, 2012 10:05am

The Coast Guard has recovered the bodies of three men whose boat apparently capsized during a daylong fishing trip off the coast of southern California and are trying to retrieve the body of a fourth man.

The bodies were found by Coast Guard helicopters Sunday floating near a capsized boat off Santa Cruz Island, near Santa Barbara.  Coast Guard authorities said the boat was spotted about 20 miles away from the Channel Islands Harbor where the men had left for their trip Saturday morning.

One body was still on the boat, two others were floating nearby in the water. Those bodies were recovered.

A fourth body was spotted five miles from the boat, but nightfall and choppy waves forced the Coast Guard to end its effort Sunday night. The effort to retrieve the body will resume today.

The men’s identities have not been released.

Coast Guard Lt. George Kolumbic said a search was launched after a relative of one of the men reported that they had failed to return from their fishing trip aboard the 24-foot boat.

It was the second Coast Guard search this weekend to end badly. A search off the coast of Washington for four men whose commercial ship suddenly disappeared without even a Mayday distress call was ended Sunday.

The Coast Guard said the four men are presumed dead given the length of time they’ve been missing and the temperature of the water, said to be around 40 degrees.

“We have searched far beyond what the capacity of somebody to survive in these conditions might be,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert told the Associated Press.

The four missing men were identified by the Coast Guard as: 42-year-old Dave Nickels and 38-year-old Jason Bjaranson of Warrenton, Ore.; 25-year-old Chris Langel of Kaukauna, Wis.; and 19-year-old Luke Jensen of Ilwaco, Wash.

The Coast Guard launched a search for the four men after a distress signal came from their commercial shipping vessel, the 70-foot Lady Cecelia, early Saturday.  The distress signal goes off automatically as a vessel sinks and the Coast Guard did not receive a mayday radio call from the men aboard the ship, Eggerts said.

After a helicopter search covering more than 1,300 square miles, rescue crews found only debris, an empty lifeboat and an oil sheen several miles off the coast.

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