Coast Guard searching for 2 overdue boaters

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is searching for two 65-year olds who are reported overdue after failing to return Monday from a sailing trip to the Azores, Portugal.

Missing are Virginia Beach natives Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones.

Nikopoulos and Jones departed from Hampton, Virginia on June 8 for the Azores. The boaters reported to Jones’s daughter on June 13 that heavy weather had damaged their vessel and that they were headed back to Hampton. The missing boaters were approximately 460 miles east of Virginia Beach at the time of the call. No further communications were received.

Two overflights conducted by HC-130 Hercules crews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City have been conducted of the approximate area of the missing boaters. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued by the Fifth Coast Guard District Command Center to alert boaters in the area to the situation.

Coast Guard Fifth District command center watchstanders received a report on June 17 from Jones’ daughter stating that she hadn’t received any communication from her mother since they departed and was concerned for their well being. While no date had been established for their return, an anticipated return date of June 20 was communicated by the daughter.

“In situations like this, where there are so many unknowns, our coordination efforts need to cast a wide and intentional net,” said Chief Brian Gainey, command duty officer. “We’re tracking cell phone and radio pings as we work with our counterparts in Bermuda to accurately determine the most intelligent search area for our air crews. It’s a lot of detective work, but it’s all in service to finding these two individuals and bringing them home to their families.”

The Coast Guard is asking that anyone with information related to the search for these two men to please call the Fifth District Command Center at 757-398-6390.

Editors Correction: The previous release identified the missing female as “Gale Jones.” Her name is Dale Jones.
Update: Included is the date and location from which the overdue boaters departed and the events leading to their last received transmission.

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