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Update: Search Suspended for Family Who Abandoned Sinking Sailboat

Calls to harbors in California have failed to locate the boat and database searches have come up empty.

Update 2/26/13 10:15 a.m.

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 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 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.

Update 2/25/13 8:20 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to search ocean waters this morning for a man, woman and two children who went missing after their  29-foot sailboat started taking on water Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard Sector San Francisco received a radio distress call from the boat, possibly named the Charmblow, at about 4:20 p.m.

The man, who was on the boat with his wife, their 4-year-old son and the boy's cousin, who is under the age of 8, told the Coast Guard the vessel's electronics system was failing, Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert said.

It was initially believed that the boat was about 65 miles off the coast of Pillar Point, but it now appears the vessel was actually farther to the south, off the Monterey coast, Lampert said.

"They didn't have a working GPS on board, so we were never able to get an accurate fix on where their vessel was," she said.

The radio communication was short and choppy, but in the last dispatch at 5:30 p.m., the man said the family was abandoning the sailboat.

"They had a life ring and a cooler that they were stringing  together to try to stay afloat," Lampert said.

She said there were no emergency positioning beacons on the boat, and no survival suits, which she described as red body suits similar to wetsuits designed keep people warm and floating.

It is not clear where the family is from, and Lampert said she is not aware of any missing-persons reports that would help the Coast Guard identify them.

The Coast Guard scoured the waters overnight by boat and with a C-130 aircraft, and the search is continuing this morning with a 210-foot cutter, an 87-foot patrol boat, a 47-foot motor lifeboat and two helicopters, Lampert said.

Anyone with information about the incident or the family is asked to call the Coast Guard immediately at (415) 399-3547.

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Original story 2/24/13 11:35 p.m.

The Coast Guard is reporting that four people are missing after they abandoned their sailboat when it began taking on water Sunday afternoon.

Coast Guard officials said they received a distress call from someone aboard a 29-foot sailboat that was 65-miles away from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay at round 4:20 p.m.

According to a KTVU report, the person on board the boat said the boat was taking on water and the vessel's electronics were failing. The GPS on board was broken, but the Coast Guard located the boat 65-miles off the coast of Pillar Point, drifting towards Santa Cruz.

Two adults and two children under 8 were on the boat and they told the Coast Guard they had to abandon ship at around 5:30 p.m., said Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert.

In the last communication the Coast Guard had with the passengers, they said they didn't have any life rafts or survival suits on board and planned to tie a cooler and life rings together to create a life boat.

Officials said they didn't know the name of the boat, the name of the occupants and where the boat came from and where it was headed.

Coast Guard helicopters, airplanes and boats are searching the area, but have so far not located the missing boaters.

The Coast Guard is asking anyone with any information regarding the incident to notify the Coast Guard immediately at (415) 399-3547.

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

— Bay City News contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

 

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sherri raef carroll February 26, 2013 at 06:14 AM
i am beginning to think this "sinking boat" is a hoax. What kind of sailor with a 29 foot vessel would have 2 children and adults on board planning to go out to sea without a GPS, satellite phone...and especially LIFE SAVING VESTS for the children... i pray they are found but for all of you sea going creatures....be prepared, GPS. Satellit phone, saftery raft / suite for children...
sherri raef carroll February 26, 2013 at 06:16 AM
I am beginning to think this "sinking boat" is a hoax. What kind of sailor with a 29 foot vessel would have 2 children and adults on board planning to go out to sea without a GPS, satellite phone...and especially LIFE SAVING VESTS for the children... i pray they are found but for all of you sea going creatures....be prepared, GPS. Satellit phone, saftery raft / suite for children... sherricarroll, moss beach
sherri raef carroll February 26, 2013 at 06:16 AM
I am beginning to think this "sinking boat" is a hoax. What kind of sailor with a 29 foot vessel would have 2 children and adults on board planning to go out to sea without a GPS, satellite phone...and especially LIFE SAVING VESTS for the children... i pray they are found but for all of you sea going creatures....be prepared, GPS. Satellit phone, saftery raft / suite for children... sherricarroll, moss beach
christinelavin February 26, 2013 at 11:09 AM
I think it might be a hoax, too. If the man on the phone said he's with his wife and son and that the 4th person was the boy's cousin -- wouldn't he have said it was his nephew? I don't think an adult would use the words "the boy's cousin" if the boy is his son. Could this be a water version of the SWAT home invasion hoaxes?
Diane Nave February 26, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Common sense told many people it was a hoax.

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