Coast Guard searches for overdue sailboater

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a 59-year-old male reported overdue from a sailing trip, Thursday, offshore Miller Beach, Ind., at approximately 4:30 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., Air Facilities Waukegan, Ill., and Muskegon, Mich., and an HU-25 Guardian jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., are searching the waters of southern Lake Michigan for Steven Banks.

“We are searching an area roughly the size of Los Angeles, about 500 square miles, to locate him safely,” said Jane Willits, search-and-rescue controller at the Ninth Coast Guard District Command Center.

Two 47-foot motor lifeboat MLB crews from Coast Guard Stations Calumet Harbor, Ill., and Michigan City, Ind., are assisting with the search for the Gary, Ind. native, who is a dentist.

An HH-65C crew form AIRFAC Waukegan located his sailboat unmanned seven nautical miles offshore north of Gary, Ind., Thursday at approximately 5:30 p.m. CDT.

The man’s wife contacted Station Michigan City after her husband did not return from sailing on his 12-foot Crane Thursday morning. Apparently, he went sailing near the shores of his beach house on Miller Beach Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard recommends all boaters to file a float plan with someone who is not going with the recreational boaters. A float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and provides emergency responders with valuable information necessary to search for a distressed boater.

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