Coast Guard searching for 4 sailors 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON — The Coast Guard is searching for four sailors 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Friday.

Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 12:30 a.m., Friday, of two 406MHz personal locator beacons registered to the 39-foot U.K.-flagged sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki.

The Cheeki Rafiki’s agent in the U.K. also told the U.S. Coast Guard the last message they received from the crew stated they were taking on water with four people on board.

A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew immediately launched to locate the sailing vessel.

The district command center watchstanders also contacted available vessels in the area to assist. Crews from the 600-foot Teesta Spirit and the 652-foot Georgia Highway diverted to assist.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center Halifax, Nova Scotia, also launched a Canadian Air National Guard C-130 aircraft to assist in the search.

The Hercules crew arrived on scene at approximately 8:30 a.m. The crew continued to search through the morning and located small pieces of debris, but no sign of the sailors. The air crew departed the area for Halifax, Nova Scotia, to refuel and swap flight crews.

“It is extremely challenging to respond to a distress case so far off shore, which is why it takes a joint effort with our international partners to put forward an effective search,” said Capt. Anthony Popiel, 1st Coast Guard District Chief of Response. “We are especially grateful to have the merchant vessel assistance with the surface given the inclement weather.”

Weather on scene is 50-knot winds and 15-foot seas.

The 1st Coast Guard District covers from New Jersey to Canada with search and rescue duties extending approximately 1,300 miles from shore. Units across the Northeast conduct more than 2,500 search and rescue cases in a year, and rescue more than 300 people.

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