South Bay News

Coast Guard releases audio of boat's distress call

Monday, February 25, 2013
Coast Guard plane tail Coast Guard sign Coast Guard search off San Mateo County coast The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for four people who abandoned  ship west of Santa Cruz Sunday afternoon.

The search for a missing family is underway right now off the coast of Monterey. A distress call reached the Coast Guard Sunday afternoon from a man who said that he, his wife, their 4-year-old son, and another boy were forced to abandon their sailboat which was sinking some 65 miles from shore. That's where the search is now centered.

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 Charm Blow, 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 tells me 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 has been launching C130 search planes and dolphin helicopters and boats from Monterey Bay.

"It's rough and windy and it's not a pleasant day to be out," Boehland said.

The Air National Guard is flying two of its helicopters to the search area. And a Coast Guard cutter has dispatched sea and air search teams. The Coast Guard says it triangulated the distress call on its radio antenna and has every reason to believe it's genuine.

"We believe that there's enough evidence out there that there's four people out there who need help," Boehland said.

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 is registered to, or who was onboard. They also haven't received any missing persons reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Coast Guard.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
boats, search and rescue, coast guard, santa cruz, monterey, monterey bay, monterey county, children, south bay news, mark matthews
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