Coast Guard suspends search for missing boaters

The Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150) transits through the Boston Harbor on its way to its new homeport at Coast Guard Base Boston in Boston, Massachusetts on Sep. 29, 2022. The Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) is designed for multiple missions, including drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan L. Noel)

Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150) transits through the Boston Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan L. Noel)

Boston — The Coast Guard suspended its active search Friday, for four persons aboard an overdue 17 foot vessel off the coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, pending any further developments.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a report at 11:45 p.m., Wednesday, from a family member of a person onboard a 17-foot white center console boat, with a blue canopy and single outboard motor, with 4 people on board from Hampton Harbor, New Hampshire. The boat had departed Hampton Harbor at about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and was due back by sunset according to a family member of the boaters.

The Coast Guard utilized a last known position from a cell phone and the location of their anticipated fishing area of Jeffreys Ledge to develop a search area. Coast Guard helicopters, aircraft, cutters and boats were all involved in the search.

At approximately 2:00 p.m. Thursday, Coast Guard aircraft spotted an overturned vessel approximately seven miles northeast of Cape Ann. Once the vessel was confirmed to be the missing boat, search crews adjusted search area for persons in the water.

Between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jia Fu Zheng, 38, of Quincy, Massachusetts, Daxiao Lin, 43, also of Quincy, and Jaime Liu, 42, of Litchfield, New Hampshire, were recovered unresponsive and transported by Coast Guard boat to Station Gloucester, Massachusetts, and pronounced deceased by local medical examiners. Bin “Michael” Cai remains missing.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of these boaters.” said Capt. Amy Florentino, commander, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “The decision to suspend a search and rescue case is one of the most difficult decisions I must make, but we want the public and especially Mr. Cai’s family that we did everything in our power to find them. The water temperature in New England at this time of the year dramatically reduces the survivability rate for anyone that enters the water, and we urge all boaters to keep the air and water temperatures in mind when planning their voyages this spring.”

Coast Guard crews searched a total of 27 hours covering more than 1,567 square nautical miles.

An investigation will be conducted by the Coast Guard due to a death in the maritime environment greater than three miles from shore.

Search crews included:

  • Coast Guard Station Gloucester 47-foot Motor Lifeboat
  • Coast Guard Station Merrimack River 47-foot Motor Lifeboat
  • Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor 47-foot Motor Lifeboat
  • Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
  • Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft
  • Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150)
  • Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak (WPB-1329)

If anyone has new information regarding this case, please call Sector Northern New England at 207-767-0303.

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