Search suspended for three missing Americans

Coast Guard C-27 Spartan aircraft file photo

Coast Guard C-27 Spartan aircraft file photo

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard has been informed that the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) has suspended their search for three American mariners aboard the sailing vessel Ocean Bound, which was last heard from on April 4 near Mazatlán, Mexico.

The search was suspended pending further developments after SEMAR and U.S. Coast Guard responders conducted 281 cumulative search hours covering approximately 200,057 square nautical miles, an area larger than the state of California, off Mexico’s northern Pacific coast with no sign of the missing sailing vessel nor its passengers.

“An exhaustive search was conducted by our international search and rescue partner, Mexico, with the U.S. Coast Guard and Canada providing additional search assets,” said Cmdr. Gregory Higgins, command center chief, Coast Guard District 11. “SEMAR and U.S. Coast Guard assets worked hand-in-hand for all aspects of the case. Unfortunately, we found no evidence of the three Americans’ whereabouts or what might have happened. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of William Gross, Kerry O’Brien and Frank O’Brien.”

This is a reminder for mariners of the importance of providing a person ashore with your float plan which in this case allowed the U.S Coast Guard to be notified when the missing sailors did not check in with family. It also underscores the importance of carrying a registered 406MHZ electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) for automatic notification in emergencies.

The three individuals aboard the sailing vessel Ocean Bound reportedly left Mazatlán on April 4 en route to San Diego, Calif., with plans to stop in Cabo San Lucas on April 6, report in and reprovision. However, they did not report in or arrive in Cabo San Lucas. Search and rescue coordinators contacted marinas throughout Baja, Mexico, which resulted in no sightings of the vessel. Urgent marine information broadcasts were also issued over VHF radio, but yielded no additional information.

U.S. Coast Guard assets involved in the search:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27 Spartan aircraft
  • Coast Guard Cutter Active
  • Coast Guard Cutter Benjamin Bottoms

SEMAR assets:

  • 47-foot Motor Lifeboat
  • 33-foot Response Boat
  • SEMAR naval vessels
  • Air King 350ER

Canadian assets:

  • HMCS Edmonton

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