Coast Guard suspends search for possible missing kayaker

A red kayak was found unmanned approximately 16 miles west of Oceanside, Calif., by a Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 helicopter crew investigating a flare sighting on Dec. 26, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A red kayak was found unmanned approximately 16 miles west of Oceanside, Calif., by a Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 helicopter crew investigating a flare sighting on Dec. 26, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard suspended its active search for a possible missing person at 5:02 p.m. after an unmanned kayak and lifejacket were found off the coast of Oceanside, California, Saturday.

Coast Guard crews searched a total area approximately 238 square miles. With all searches yielding negative results and no correlating information on a missing person, the decision to suspend the search was made.

At approximately 1:20 a.m. Saturday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Diego received a call from a fisherman at the Ocean Beach Pier that he had seen two amber-colored flares in the night sky. As he was making the report, he witnessed two additional amber flares.

A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter was also diverted to aid in the search. The Jayhawk completed its search at 5:30 a.m. and the Sea Otter completed its search at 8:00 a.m. The search area extended 39 miles northwest of the location of the flare sighting. Both searches yielded negative results for any mariners in distress.

Another Jayhawk crew was launched from Sector San Diego at 8:15 a.m. to continue the search in the daylight. At 9:45 a.m., the crew spotted an unmanned red kayak approximately 16 miles west of Oceanside. A lifejacket was also found less than a mile northeast of the kayak.

The kayak appeared to be in like-new condition and officials were unable to determine if it was manned, or if there was any correlation to the flare sighting.

Assets involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
  • Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter
  • Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
  • Coast Guard Station San Diego 45-foot response boat-medium

Anyone with amplifying information is requested to contact the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 619-278-7031 or via VHF marine-band radio channel 16.

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