COAST GUARD SEARCHING FOR OVERDUE SAILORS

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Coast Guard rescue coordinators are asking boaters to be on the look out for two overdue sailors aboard the 35-foot sailboat, Fly Away, scheduled to have arrived in Panama City, Fla., Sunday.

The sailors, one 68-years old of Gulf Shores, Ala., and the other 66-years old, of St. Petersburg, Fla., were reported overdue Monday by the wife of one of the missing men after she hadn’t received a scheduled phone call from her husband. The two men, whose names are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, were reported to have left Clearwater, Fla., Saturday morning and were expected to arrive in Panama City Sunday night.

The vessel is a 35-foot Pearson sailboat with the Alabama registration number AL1644AG. The boat has a maroon hull with white superstructure and white sails. If anyone has any information on the boaters’ whereabouts, they are asked to call Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, at 727-824-7506 or on marine VHF radio channel 16.

“We are searching an area spanning from Clearwater to Apalachicola, Fla.,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Phillip Peacock, a rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Because of the size of the search area, we are asking mariners to be on the lookout for any possible signs of boaters in distress, which includes a disabled vessel, radio broadcasts, flare sightings and debris in the water.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Coho, from Panama City, the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, from St. Petersburg, an HC-130 search plane and HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter, from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, an HU-25 Falcon search jet, from Coast Guard Air Station Mobile, Ala., along with rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Panama City, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Air National Guard, Ala., Civil Air Patrol, Ala., and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, are searching the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway for the boaters.

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