Coast Guard searches for source of ‘Mayday’ call; search crews find body

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard is utilizing multiple search assets this morning in an attempt to find the fishing vessel Mary James, believed to be the source of a mayday call that was received Sunday evening. Since the search began, the Coast Guard has found one body, a life raft and a life ring, about 22 miles southeast of Manasquan Inlet, N.J.

The body has not yet been identified. It is being picked up and transported ashore by a Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet rescue boat crew.

All indications are that the body, as well as the mayday call and debris, originated from the fishing vessel Mary James, a 40-foot scallop boat which moors at the Red Lobster Shack in Manasquan, N.J. The crew of the Nautilus, sister ship to the Mary James, confirmed having spoken to the crew of the Mary James Sunday evening and that it utilizes a two-person crew.

Searching are Coast Guard rescue crews aboard an HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City, an HC-130 Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., rescue boats from Station Manasquan Inlet and Station Barnegat Light, N.J., and the Cutter Finback, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Cape May, N.J.

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators received a mayday call on marine radio at about 11:15 p.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard immediately began issuing an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) on marine radio for any vessels to keep a sharp lookout, assist if possible and report any sightings to the Coast Guard.

An Air Station Atlantic City rescue helicopter was diverted from a previous case to begin searching. A subsequent helicopter search at about 2:30 a.m. resulted in the location of a life raft with no one aboard. Another helicopter search resulted in the location of the life ring, with the vessel name of Mary James printed on it.

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