Family Lost at Sea on San Francisco Coast

Family Lost at Sea on San Francisco Coast Family Lost at Sea off of Coast of San Francisco Still Unsolved

The story goes like this.  The Coast Guard received a call that a sailboat was having difficulty about 60 miles off of the coast of San Francisco.  An hour later, they received another call saying their electronics were failing and they were abandoning ship.  Was it a hoax or a badly prepared group of sailors?

The Coast Guard called off the search telling reporters:   “We’ve exhausted the possibilities,” Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said. The Coast Guard is treating the incident as a rescue, with the possibility the calls came from a trickster. Neither the family nor the boat has been reported missing.

Although the sailboat had no GPS, the Coast Guard used radio signals to search an area about 60 miles off the coast of Monterey where winds, heavy waves,  and cold water made for dangerous conditions which had been forecast by the National Weather Service.

The 42-hour search involved hundreds of rescuers from the Coast Guard and the California Air National Guard. A Hercules C-130 four-engine turboprop aircraft buzzed above the seas, while helicopters, cutters and lifeboats plied the waters, as costs soared into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Investigators determined from the broken distress calls that the family included a husband and wife, their 4-year-old son and his cousin, Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert has said. But the agency received no reports about a family missing at sea.

The sailing/boating community is close-knit.  And although sailors in harbors along the Northern California Coast were concerned, there were no reported boats launched from their docks missing, and no family had disappeared from their community.

Capt. Gene Maly, a 40-year veteran of sailing who runs a charter sailboat out of Monterey, said the entire incident might have been a hoax. But the Czech native, who has logged 80,000 miles at sea, said it’s also possible that ill-prepared sailors set out without the proper training and equipment.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

 

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