SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --The Coast Guard is searching for anyone who might have been on board a salmon fishing boat called the Paloma. The boat was found early this morning at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
Officials with Park Services established a perimeter around the grounded boat to extend about 100 yards in either direction - this as the U.S. Coast Guard asks the public for help in finding the captain of the vessel.
The search for the missing boat captain started just before 4 a.m. The Coast Guard received a call that the Paloma was aground at Ocean Beach near Seal Rock in San Francisco and that the captain may have decided to jump off and swim to shore.
"Around 3:34 a.m., Sunrise contacted the Coast Guard saying that Timothy Lybrand was saying that he was 'on the rocks' - his words - and that he was considering getting off the vessel and swimming to shore the 25 yards and then he had no other communication with him," said United States Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Shawn Lansing.
A systematic search was started by the Coast Guard and SF Fire, but the combination of dive teams, helicopters and thermal imaging cameras scanning the surface for body heat, picked up nothing - a quick search of parts of the boat also left crews empty handed.
"We got one person on board able at least to check the top part of it, there was no one there," said SF Fire Department Battalion Chief Denise Newman.
Officials don't know if he got off the 40 foot boat, beached about 25 yards out, and swam to shore, or, if he remains inside, beneath the surface of the water. Even though the boat is close - Lansing says it's unstable and not safe for crews to board without the right equipment. Now, there are additional challenges. The possibility of 400 gallons of fuel leaking into the water
"There's some fumes in the air so some of it may have leaked already. We don't have any signs on the surface that it has, but it would be a fair assumption," said Lansing.
A salvage crew will remove the hazardous materials and oils and coordinate the efforts of taking that boat off of the beach. Investigators are still working to determine the cause and factors of why the boat ran aground.