Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Ship Pilot

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Coast Guard crews have ended their search for a missing federal ship pilot who entered the water about two miles off the coast of Cape Henlopen, at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, Sunday night.

Missing is Lynn Deibert, 52, a pilot with the Chesapeake Federal Pilots Association. Deibert’s home of record is reported to be Virginia Beach, Va.

Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Field Office Atlantic City were contacted at about 11 p.m. Sunday and notified that Deibert fell into the water while attempting to board the motor vessel Energy Enterprise, a 645-foot U.S.-flagged freight ship bound for Baltimore. It was reported that Deibert was transferring from the pilot vessel Big Stone 5 to the freight ship when he fell from the freight ship’s ladder and into the water, reportedly 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Coast Guard directed the launch of search crews aboard an HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City, a 47-foot rescue boat and a 41-foot rescue boat from Station Cape May, N.J., and a 41-foot rescue boat from Station Indian River, Del. The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, underway on a separate mission, was diverted to search the area.

At first light this morning, the Coast Guard directed the launch of another Air Station Atlantic City crew for what would be the third helicopter sortie. An Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., HC-130 Hercules long-range aircraft was also directed to launch this morning. Following the early-morning helicopter search, the crews aboard the HC-130 Hercules aircraft and the Cutter Dependable searched until about 2:20 p.m.

In all, Coast Guard crews conducted 13 search sorties over a period of more than 14 hours in their search for Deibert.

It was reported that Deibert was wearing a personal flotation device when he entered the water. Witnesses to the accident reportedly threw three life rings into the water.

On-scene weather at the time of accident was reported as 20-25 knot winds, 6-foot seas and clear visibility.

The Big Stone 5 is enroute Lewes, Del., for further examination at a dock. The Energy Enterprise continued enroute Baltimore and is scheduled to be met by investigators from Coast Guard Sector Baltimore for inspection and crew interviews. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia.

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