Coast Guard suspends search for missing boaters

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for two people who are missing after their boat capsized in northern Chuckanut Bay near Bellingham, Wash., Friday.

Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., received a report at approximately 2 a.m. from the Bellingham Police Department that an 18-foot sailing vessel with six people on board had flipped in Chuckanut Bay approximately two and a half miles south of Bellingham. Three people made it to shore successfully and one person made it shore side but became stranded on a cliff.

The case was suspended after an intense search of a 50 square mile area from the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Bellingham Fire Department and other local agencies.

None of the boaters were wearing a lifejacket.

“The most important step a boater can take to reduce the risk of injury or death is to wear a life jacket at all times,” said Daniel Shipman, the boating safety manager for the Thirteenth Coast Guard District.

Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles launched an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Station Bellingham 33-foot rescue boat crew as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, homeported in Bellingham. The Bellingham Fire Department deployed a ground party to search shore side and the Customs and Border Protection launched two small response boat crews to assist the Coast Guard in the search and rescue.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin launched their small rescue boat and was able to successfully rescue the person off of the cliff. The person was transferred onto the Customs and Border Patrol response boat and was then taken to Station Bellingham where local emergency medical personnel were waiting.

No injuries were reported.

The water temperature on scene is 49 degrees with seas of one to two feet and 10-nautical mile visibility.

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