ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching the Atlantic Ocean for a Pompano Beach, Fla., man who fell overboard from the commercial fishing vessel Fine Tuna while swordfishing 400 miles east of St. Augustine, Fla., Thursday.
Missing is Peter Steewell, 55, of Pompano Beach.
Watchstanders in the Coast Guard 7th District Command Center learned of the accident about 5 p.m., Thursday and immediately began directing search assets toward the scene.
Coast Guard aircrews in HC-130 Hercules planes from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., searched continuously through the night. A third Hercules crew from Elizabeth City is en route to relieve the previous aircrew. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, which was already underway off the coast of Florida, diverted from its mission and is expected to be in the search area Saturday morning.
Additionally, watchstanders used AMVER, the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System, to locate another commercial vessel already in the area willing to assist with the search. The NOCC Atlantic, a freight ship bound for Spain, responded, diverted from its path and joined the search Thursday.
Steewell is reportedly wearing sweatpants, a t-shirt and rubber boots and was reportedly not wearing a life jacket when he fell overboard.
The Fine Tuna is a 57-foot longliner fishing vessel homeported in Wanchese, N.C.
Weather at the time of the accident was reported to be 35-mph winds and 8-9-foot seas. The water temperature is about 73 F.