Coast Guard Suspends Search for Flying Colours

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard suspended active searching today, pending further developments, for four sailors missing off the North Carolina coast since Monday morning: Patrick Topping, 39, Jason Franks, 34, Rhiannon Borisoff, 22, and Christine Grinavic, 25.

“Suspending a search is always a difficult step for the Coast Guard because we understand the impact that it has on the families involved,” said Rear Admiral Larry Hereth, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District. “In the last six days, Coast Guard cutters and aircraft, along with numerous DOD aircraft searched all of the likely and even unlikely areas where the crew could be. Sadly, the threshold of survival seems negligible.”

“We can imagine the pain of the crew’s family and friends, and we extend our sympathies. If we receive any new information or come across any new evidence, we will immediately pursue those new leads,” said Hereth.

The crew was sailing the 54-foot sailing vessel Flying Colours from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Annapolis, Md.

The Search began Monday when watch standers at the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Portsmouth, Va., received a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) from the Flying Colours at 3:30 a.m. Monday, the RCC lost contact with the EPIRB at 7:00 a.m. Monday. The signal location put the vessel in the middle of a storm packing 35-40 foot waves and 45 mph winds.

Coast Guard search crews from Air Stations Elizabeth City, N.C., Clearwater, Fla., Cape Cod, Mass., Savannah, Ga., and the Coast Guard Cutters Tampa and Staten Island, were joined by two Navy P3 search crews from Squadron VP-16 from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., and C-130 crews from Moody and Patrick Air Force Bases and the Rhode Island, New York, Georgia and North Carolina Air National Guard have searched more than 282,000 square nautical miles, an area larger than the state of Texas.

A search and rescue case is not closed until the search object has been located. All mariners are encouraged to continue to be on the lookout for the sailing vessel Flying Colors and its crew.

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