Search For Gainey to Continue Through the Night

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Plans are being made to continue the search tonight for Laura Gainey, who went overboard from the sailing vessel Picton Castle about 470 miles southeast of Cape Cod.

Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard C-130 airplanes searched for her throughout the day, aided by the motor tanker Mindanao and the woman’s shipmates aboard the 189-foot tall ship Picton Castle.

The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards and civilian crews have scoured about 1,500 square miles of ocean during the search.

Both C-130s returned to their bases due to low fuel late this afternoon. The Mindanao and Picton Castle are still on scene searching, and the U.S. Coast Guard C-130 will return to the search refueled and with a fresh crew tonight. The Canadian crew will be standing by to assist.

At about 9 p.m. Friday, personnel at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, received a call from the captain of the Picton Castle reporting that one of his female crew members had gone missing from the vessel in 40 knot winds and 22-foot seas.

RCC Halifax contacted Coast Guardsmen at the RCC in Portsmouth, Va., who assumed control of the search.

At about 2 a.m. Saturday, RCC Portsmouth diverted the motor vessel Lake Phoenix a nearby AMVER vessel (Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System) vessel to the scene to assist in the search. After completing its designated search pattern and being replaced by the M/T Mindanao, the M/V Lake Phoenix departed the search area early this morning.

Based on the 70-degree Gulf Stream water temperature, the woman could feasibly survive in the search area for more than 36 hours.

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