Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard in Bering Sea

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended the search Sunday at 12:37 a.m. for a man that reportedly fell overboard from the commercial fishing vessel Rebecca Irene 24 miles southeast of Umnak Island.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched Saturday from Air Station Kodiak after the crew of the Rebecca Irene reported Nhial Opiew, a 38-year-old man, was reported missing at about 8:34 a.m. Saturday.

The crew of the Rebecca Irene searched for approximately 14 hours with assistance from two good Samaritan vessels. The combined search effort covered more than 100 square miles.

“The search was severely hampered by visibility as low as one half mile at sea level throughout the day,” according to Lt. Nathaniel Johnson, command duty officer at the District Seventeen Command Center.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Kodiak was launched also Saturday morning as well as an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley on patrol in the Bering Sea. Due to poor visibility and vast off-shore distances neither asset could search effectively.

The Rebecca Irene is a 140-foot trawler homeported in Seattle that was fishing for Pacific Ocean perch.

Opiew’s hometown is unknown.

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