Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater after 3 die

Apr 21, 2023, 12:12 PM | Updated: 1:00 pm

HAMPTON, N.H (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for a fisherman on Friday, a day after the small boat he had been in was found capsized off the Massachusetts coast and the other three men who had been onboard were found unresponsive and later pronounced dead.

The Coast Guard searched nearly 1,600 square miles (4,144 square kilometers) of ocean for the boat and its four passengers, who were reported missing just before midnight Wednesday. It found the boat about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

On Friday, it suspended the search for the last of the missing men, Bin “Michael” Cai.

On Thursday search crews found 38-year-old Jia Fu Zheng and 43-year-old Daxiao Lin, both of Quincy, Massachusetts, and 42-year-old Jaime Liu, of Litchfield, New Hampshire. They were unresponsive when found and were pronounced dead after they were brought ashore in Gloucester, Massachusetts, officials said.

The Coast Guard did not provide an age or hometown for Cai.

The four left the harbor in Hampton, New Hampshire, on Wednesday morning intending to fish in an area called Jeffreys Ledge, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) offshore. They were due back by sunset.

A relative of one of the men called to report them missing at about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Coast Guard Lt. Brandon Newman told that there were 2-foot (0.6-meter) waves on Wednesday. The air temperature was 42 degrees (5.6 degrees Celsius) and the water temperature was 46 degrees (7.8 degrees Celsius).

The Coast Guard searched an area based on the last known position of one of the fishermen’s cellphones and their intention to fish on Jeffreys Ledge.

The Coast Guard will conduct an investigation.

Capt. Amy Florentino, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, said the decision to end a search was a difficult one.

“”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,” Florentino said in a statement.

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Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater after 3 die