Coast Guard suspends search for missing Russian crewmember south of Unimak Island

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended the search Sunday at 11:24 a.m. for a 23-year-old Russian crewmember, reported to have fallen overboard from the 996-foot container ship Hyundai Tokyo approximately 180 miles south of Unimak Island in the North Pacific Ocean.

Alexey Lyalyeaev was reportedly last seen aboard the ship at 9:50 a.m. Saturday and was reported missing several hours later by his roommate.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crews conducted two HC-130 Hercules aircraft searches and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter search totaling almost 27 hours of search time and covering more than 2,329 square miles. The Hyundai Tokyo retraced its previous course for almost 11 hours. Additionally, the ship’s crew searched the surrounding ocean where the vessel was when Lyalyeaev was last seen for approximately 90 minutes.

The Coast Guard 17th District Rescue Coordination Center in Juneau was notified of Lyalyeaev’s disappearance at approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday and issued an urgent marine information broadcast to request the assistance of any vessels in the area. The original call for help came a few minutes earlier from the ship via text message to the Coast Guard command center in Alameda, Calif., and was relayed to the 17th District through the Coast Guard Communications Station in Kodiak.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Kodiak arrived on scene at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. It was joined by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at about 10:30 p.m. Both aircraft searched until about 2 a.m. An HC-130 crew conducted an additional search Sunday morning but no signs of the missing man were found.

Weather conditions in the search area Saturday were calm initially with winds increasing Saturday night and seas building to ten feet. The water temperature is in the 40s. Weather conditions during Sunday’s search were forecast as winds at about 23 mph from the northeast contributing to seas of about eight feet with rain showers and fog.

The Hyundai Tokyo is a Great Britain-flagged vessel and was sailing from Oakland, Calif., to Pusan, Korea.

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