U.S. and Philippine Coast Guards searching for missing Guam sailboat

C-130 Taking off from Barbers Point

USCG File Photo

HONOLULU—A Coast Guard aircrew and members of the Philippine Coast Guard are searching for five people missing aboard a catamaran sailboat who are reported to be heading to the Philippines, Thursday.

Guam search and rescue coordinators received a call from family members of the crew aboard the 38-foot catamaran, Pineapple, who are concerned about the transit from Guam to Cebu Island in the Philippines. The Pineapple departed Guam Jan. 6, 2011 at 10 a.m. and was expected to arrive at Cebu Island on Jan. 16, 2011.

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators launched an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Wednesday. The aircrew is scheduled to arrive in Guam on Thursday. Guam search and rescue coordinators asked the Philippine Coast Guard to start the search.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and SafetyNET asking all commercial ships transiting the area to be on the lookout and report any sightings of the sailboat Monday.

The Coast Guard contacted harbor masters in Guam, Yap, Palau, and the Philippines to report any contact with the Pineapple.

“Although weather conditions make sail transits difficult to predict, the planned voyage was supposed to take seven to 10 days with the sailboat arriving in the Philippines no later than Sunday,” Lt. j.g. Justin Valentino, a search and rescue coordinator for Guam.

The Pineapple is described as a 38-foot twin-hulled catamaran with a white hull and white sails. The sailboat has five American citizens onboard.

On scene weather conditions are reported to be 17 to 23 mph winds and five to 8-foot seas.

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