Coast Guard suspends search for missing Chinese mariner in Pacific

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (CG 1720)/Released
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (CG 1720)/Released

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday evening for a Chinese mariner who was unreported while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran across the Pacific.

Guo Chuan, 50, remains missing.

Officials say Guo Chuan is attempting to set a solo single-handed sailing record from San Francisco to Shanghai on the vessel Qingdao China.

He is reportedly a very experienced sailor, in good health, and was in constant contact with maritime officials and his family. But as of Tuesday morning, he had not been heard from for 24 hours.

“Mr. Chuan was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate Mr. Chuan. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community.”

Qingdao China was actively transmitting on an automatic identification system, which showed the vessel’s position 620 miles northwest of Oahu.

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crews conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the Quindao China and its charted course following notification Tuesday and into Wednesday.

The USS Makin Island deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Chuan.

Their hails over the radio went unanswered and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to the vessel.

They followed up by deploying a inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.

The Quindao China remains adrift, the mainsail has been doused and the vessel has been marked. A broadcast notice to mariners alerting vessel crews in the area to the potential hazard to navigation has been issued. Chuan’s racing team is making arrangements to recover the vessel.

 

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