Coast Guard suspends search for four missing boaters off the Monterey Coast

February 26, 2013 10:05:55 AM PST
The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a family of four missing boaters off the Monterey Coast. The search expanded 20,000 square miles to Hawaii, the Seattle area and even up into Canada.

Yesterday's search took place 120 miles off the Monterey Coast. The search started after this distress call from a sinking ship came in on Sunday.

On Monday the Coast Guard released audio of the ship's distress call. In the emergency call you can hear a man saying, "Coast Guard, Coast Guard, we are abandoning ship, this is the Charmblow, we are abandoning ship."

The Coast Guard says that very weak call was picked up by its radio antennas along the coast. The position figured it at about 65 miles off the coast of Monterey.

"It was incredibly far away," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Boehland. "It was 68 miles offshore, and the signal was really weak, so we had to piece together what we can."

Petty Officer Boehland said before they lost contact, the husband told them he and his wife were trying to fashion a life raft.

"They said they had a cooler and a life ring, and that they were going to try and put them together to make together some sort of life raft because they had to abandon their ship because it was taking on water," Boehland said.

The Coast Guard had been launching C130 search planes and dolphin helicopters and boats from Monterey Bay.

The Air National Guard was flying two of its helicopters to the search area and a Coast Guard cutter was dispatched sea and air search teams. The Coast Guard said it had triangulated the distress call on its radio antenna and had every reason to believe it was genuine.

The 29-foot sailboat had been out in very rough conditions Sunday afternoon. There were high winds and big swells. Weather forecasters had issued an advisory, warning sailors about the perilous conditions.

The Coast Guard does not know who the boat was registered to, or who was onboard. Calls to harbors in California have failed to locate the boat and database searches have come up empty. They also haven't received any missing persons reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Coast Guard.

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