Seven reported missing aboard a skiff confirmed safe

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia — Search and rescue controllers with the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu and Apra Harbor, Guam, have determined that seven people reported missing in a skiff near Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia over the weekend have been reported safe on another island.

The seven had been reported missing Friday in a 19-foot fiberglass skiff from Chuuk, but turned up in the Hall Islands approximately 70 miles away.

A C-130 long-range search plane air crew from Air Station Barbers Point and a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion crew from Guam searched Monday and Tuesday for the skiff and seven people. The Coast Guard first received notice the seven were missing at noon Friday.

A Good Samaritan vessel bound for Fananu had located the missing boat at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday. The “Good Sam” towed the distressed vessel and seven people until that vessel encountered engine problems of its own and was unable to continue towing.

When the “Good Sam” was able to restart his engine, he reported the distressed boat was nowhere to be seen. The missing 19-foot vessel was last seen at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.

Coast Guard Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam coordinated a multi-agency search to include the U.S. Navy P-3 Orion dispatched from Anderson Air Force Base on Guam and organized a search that covered more than 2,500 square nautical miles.

The Coast Guard C-130 from Hawaii arrived on scene at 7:30 a.m. Monday, and a twin-engine aircraft from Caroline Island Airlines also assisted with the search. An additional Coast Guard C-130 search plane from Hawaiiwas expected to join the search this afternoon before the seven were reported safe in the Hall Islands.

Weather on-scene was reported to be 25-knot northwest winds with waves up to 10 feet.

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