Alaska Coast Guard suspends search for missing Chinese crewmember in North Pacific Ocean

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended its search for a 37-year-old Chinese crewmember, presumed to have fallen overboard from the 685-foot container ship Sao Paulo approximately 754 miles southwest of Kodiak in the North Pacific Ocean.

Yom Kai Bao Fang was reported last seen aboard the ship at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and was discovered missing approximately seven hours later after he didn’t report for watch.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crews conducted two HC-130 Hercules aircraft searches covering more than 1,700 square miles and the Sao Paulo retraced its previous course and reportedly searched the ship for five hours.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Kodiak was launched at 1:22 a.m. and reached the search area at 4:20 a.m. and searched for more than five hours. A self-locating data marker buoy was deployed from the aircraft at 6:30 a.m.

The first Hercules returned to Air Station Kodiak and a second Hercules was launched at 12:34 p.m. and arrived on scene about 3 p.m. searching for three hours.

The Coast Guard 17th District Rescue Coordination Center in Juneau was notified of the missing man at approximately 11 p.m. Thursday from the Sao Paulo and issued an urgent marine information broadcast to request the assistance of any vessels in the area.

Weather conditions in the search area were seas of six feet, winds of 23 mph and a water temperature of 59 degrees. The man was wearing a light blue jacket and dark blue pants when he was last seen.

The Sao Paulo is a Hong Kong-flagged vessel and was sailing to Mexico.

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