Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard near Christmas Island

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU – The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu suspended the search Wednesday for a 40-year-old male who reportedly fell overboard from a fishing vessel near Christmas Island Sunday.

The man overboard was the master of the 163-foot South Korean flagged fishing vessel Panalox. Panalox, and its sister vessel, Shin Yung, began searching after discovering Sunday that the man was missing. They later notified the Korean Coast Guard, who contacted the U.S. Coast Guard Monday.

The U.S. Coast Guard was notified 27 hours after the man reportedly fell overboard. Initial reports from the Korean Coast Guard stated incorrect coordinates, directing efforts toward a search area near Guam. As Coast Guard personnel prepared their response, the Korean Coast Guard corrected the coordinates and the search area was found to be 305 miles northwest of Christmas Island.

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii HC-130 Hercules aircraft crews conducted searches Tuesday and Wednesday covering approximately 1,690 square miles.

Two other fishing vessels assisted with the search Tuesday and throughout Tuesday night, but suspended their roles in the search by Wednesday morning.

On-scene conditions: waves at 6 feet, 12 mile-per-hour winds with visibility at 8 miles.

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family during this difficult time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pete Zauner, command duty officer at JRCC. “Suspending a search is never an easy decision and is only made after we have exhausted search efforts.”

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