Seach Suspended for Missing Fisherman Off Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews suspended their search Sunday afternoon for a fisherman who went missing Tuesday while transiting from Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands to Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Phillip Fredericks, 45, is still missing after he was expected to arrive to Vieques, Puerto Rico Tuesday night after departing from Saint John aboard the fishing vessel Don Chepo Monday afternoon. The 27-foot Don Chepo is a fiberglass and wooden fishing vessel with a blue hull and is powered by two 200 horsepower Evinrude outboard engines.

Coast Guard rescue crews spent five days conducting 21 searches spanning out more than 12,835 nautical square miles throughout the search area.

Since Wednesday, Coast Guard rescue crews searched for Fredericks with HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen, Coast Guard 33-foot response boats from Boat Station San Juan, a HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. an a HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., a Coast Guard Auxiliary fixed-wing aircraft from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and a Coast Guard Auxiliary helicopter from Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to Mr. Fredricks’ family and loved ones during this difficult time,” said Capt. James E. Tunstall, commander, Sector San Juan. “Our rescue crews aggressively searched the area to find Fredericks, and at this time the search has been suspended pending further developments.”

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