Search Continues for Missing Gulf Coast Boaters

NEW ORLEANS –  Coast Guard rescue crews from Louisiana, Alabama and Florida continue to search for the remaining crew of the 60-foot fishing vessel Silver Wings that reportedly sank Thursday with four people onboard 100 miles south of Grand Isle, La. Crews from Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless, Coast Guard Cutter Pelican, an HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station New Orleans, a HU-25 Falcon jet from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., and a C-130 Hercules jet from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., have searched more than 650 nautical square miles since Thursday.

At approximately 4 p.m. Thursday, the Coast Guard received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal from the Silver Wings and launched an HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Corpus Christi to investigate. The Falcon crew located the vessel’s deflated life raft with no people onboard. A good samaritan from the vessel Crosby Challenger found and rescued one crewman who was clinging to a life ring Thursday evening. A crew from Air Station New Orleans found a second crewman clinging to a buoy. Both men were medevaced to Air Station New Orleans where they were taken by ambulance to West Jefferson Hospital.  They are reportedly listed in stable condition.

“The 406Mhz EPIRB played a major role in finding the two crewmen,” said Capt. John Hardin, chief of response for the Eighth Coast Guard District.” Without the EPIRB we would have had no indication that the vessel was in distress. The EPIRB’s capability to provide location and owner information is really the reason why we were able to respond to their location so quickly and definitely made the difference for these two crewmen.”

When a 406 MHz EPIRB signal is received, search and rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database. This includes the beacon owner’s contact information, emergency contact information, and vessel/aircraft identifying characteristics. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately.

In the U.S., users are required by law to directly register their beacon in the U.S. 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database at:  http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/ or by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Other users can register their beacon in their country’s national beacon registration database or, if no national database is available, in the International Beacon Registration Database at https://www.406registration.com/.

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