Coast Guard, local agencies respond to flares sightings, discovers multiple unmanned kayaks

Coast Guard and local agency crews located three unmanned kayaks near Madison, Connecticut, Wednesday night, while responding to a report of flare sightings. The Coast Guard urges all paddle craft owners to label their kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to reduce unnecessary search and rescue cases. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center)

Coast Guard and local agency crews located three unmanned kayaks near Madison, Connecticut, Wednesday night, while responding to a report of flare sightings.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound)

NEW YORK ­— Coast Guard and local agency crews located three unmanned kayaks near Madison, Connecticut, Wednesday night, while responding to a report of flare sightings.

At approximately 11:40 p.m., Wednesday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command center received a report from two sources who witnessed two, red parachute flares in the area of Madison.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) boatcrew from Coast Guard Station New Haven and several fire boats from the local area launched and began searching the area for a possible boater in distress.

The New Haven rescue boat and local boatcrews searched until 3 a.m., Thursday, and were relieved by a Coast Guard Station New London boatcrew.

During a first light search Thursday, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod conducted a search of the area, and located two unmanned kayaks, with no gear or any identifying marks, in the search area.

Gilford Fire Department officials notified watchstanders, Thursday morning of a third unmanned kayak with no gear or identifying marks being located near Gilford Marina.

At 10:13 a.m., the search for a possible distressed boater was suspended pending any new updating information. There is currently no correlation between the unmanned kayaks and the flare sightings.

Paddle sports continue to be the fastest growing segment of recreational boating, with more than 300,000 paddle craft being sold annually. The Coast Guard urges all paddle craft owners to label their kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to reduce unnecessary search and rescue cases.

Anyone with information about the unmanned kayaks are encouraged to call Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center at 203-468-4401.

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