Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker near Milford, Conn.

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard is suspending the search for a male kayaker reported missing Sunday near Milford, Conn., at 8 p.m. today pending further developments.

Fengquan Guan, of Beijing, who was described as wearing a black sweater, black jeans, a dark gray lifejacket with black trim and using a gray two-person kayak, was reported missing at about 2 p.m. Sunday by a friend that he was visiting in Milford.

“The Coast Guard, along with our local port partner agencies, saturated the area in a search for this missing kayaker,” said Coast Guard Chief Mike Burke, Sector Long Island Sound Operations Unit Controller. “It is always a difficult decision to suspend a search of any kind and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this missing mariner.”

The decision to suspend a search is based on several factors, including the effect of air and water temperatures upon a person, wind and sea conditions, clothing and personal protective equipment worn and build of the person. In this case, eight first response agencies, along with a Good Samaritan, saturated roughly 1,250 square miles, roughly the size of Rhode Island, with no sign of Guan or the kayak.

“A kayak is very susceptible to wind, and the high winds experienced today greatly expanded the probable search area and harsh survivability conditions of this case,” said Burke. “Regardless of water temperature, being in the water for an extended period of time can lower someone’s internal body temperature and can be a major cause for hypothermia.”

The man left Milford around 11 a.m. Sunday for a kayaking trip, and when he didn’t return as scheduled, a friend notified the Milford Police Department, who then notified the Coast Guard.

Rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station New Haven, the Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish, Milford Police and Fire Department, West Haven Fire Department, East Haven Fire Department, Branford Fire Department, New Haven Police Department and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection responded and participated in the search.

Rescue helicopter and jet crews from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and Sufflok County Police Aviation were also on scene conducting aerial searches.

Weather was reported as two to three-foot seas, winds gusting to about 23 miles-per-hour and the water temperature around 50 degrees throughout the search.

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