Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayakers

LOS ANGELES – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the two missing kayakers from San Nicolas Island at 12:20 pm today.

“We have yet to find the missing men and having exhausted all possibility that we will find survivors, I have ordered our active search suspended,” said Coast Guard Capt. Mark Hamilton, Deputy Commander for Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach.

“I have notified U.S. Navy officials of my decision who have been keeping the families informed of our search progress. I pray that the families and shipmates of the men remain strong and my thoughts are with them they as go through this difficult time,” said Hamilton.

The Coast Guard and Navy conducted multiple searches in a 2,500 square nautical mile search area roughly the size of the states of Rhode Island and Deleware combined. In total, approximately 6,500 square nautical miles of ocean were covered with 34 separate searches on and over the water encompassing 126 hours of search time.

The missing kaykers were last seen at about noon on Wednesday approximately a mile from shore off the east end of San Nicolas Island. The Coast Guard initiated its search at 2:30 pm with an original search area of approximately 300 square nautical miles which steadlily expanded as wind and sea conditions were taken into account.

At about 6:00 pm Thursday a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft sighted two kayaks lashed together approximately 35 nautical miles south east of San Nicholas Island. The kayaks were recovered by the USS Momsen.

Based on the known location of the found kayaks the Coast Guard initiated new search patterns. However by noon on Friday there was still no sign of the missing men.

When the Coast Guard suspends a search, it means no rescue crews will be actively searching. Searches can resume if information is received that would lead the Coast Guard to believe the search should continue.

Two helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, and the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut conducted the search with the aid of the guided missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) and its helicopter, one helicopter from Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, three helicopters from Navy Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, San Clemente Island, and a Navy P-3 Orion aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.

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