Coast Guard searching, seeking public help to ID source of large debris field

Southeastern Coast Guard News
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard is asking members of the public to help identify the source of a large debris field spotted Sunday evening in the Atlantic Ocean about 22 miles east of the entrance to the St. Johns River.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aircrew reported the debris, including two large pieces of a vessel; 10 life jackets; flares; and an oil sheen, about 6 p.m.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach confirmed with organizers from the El Cheapo fishing tournament, which occurred in the area Sunday, all participants and vessels involved in the tournament are accounted for.

It is unknown if people are in the water or otherwise in distress, but the Coast Guard is responding as though there are.

Currently searching the area surrounding the debris field are a boatcrew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Mayport in Atlantic Beach and an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah.

The Coast Guard Cutter Cormorant is en route. A C-130 Hercules plane from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., is scheduled to search Sunday night, and the Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher is slated to join the search Monday morning.

Anyone with information about the debris field is urged to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville at 904-564-7511.

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