Coast Guard searching after radio beacon alert and debris found off Wilmington

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and C-130 Hercules aircraft

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and C-130 Hercules aircraft file photo

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard is searching for a possible missing vessel after being alerted by an unregistered emergency position indicating radio beacon and finding a debris field approximately 126 miles southeast of Wilmington, Tuesday morning.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard District Five command center in Portsmouth, Virginia received the distress alert at approximately 11 a.m.

Watchstanders issued an enhanced group calling alert, launched aircrews aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton to search the area. Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessels agreed to search the area as well.

Once on scene, aircrews spotted netting, floats and other debris in the area.

There have been no confirmed reports of missing vessels.

“We take EPIRB notifications very seriously and this combination with debris is an indication of possible distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Dempsey, watchstander during the case. “Anyone in the boating or fishing community who has information that can assist the search may call the District Five command center at 757-398-6231.”

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