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Update: Coast Guard Suspends Active Search For Missing Fisherman

Investigation underway into the disappearance of a 26-year-old man off the Fishing Vessel Karen Elizabeth south of Point Judith Friday morning.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has now suspended its active search for a 26-year old man who was lost from of the fishing vessel Karen Elizabeth about ½ mile off Point Judith Friday morning pending further developments.

OS-1 Seth Caron out of USCG Station Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Lieutenant Schmid from First Coast Guard District in Boston reported on Saturday morning that the search for the missing fisherman was suspended around 5 p.m. Friday evening after the USCG spent the day searching the seas with a 25-foot response boat from Station Point Judith and an MH-60 Jayhawk out of Air Station Cape Cod, with no results. 

Shmid reported that according to the USCG reporting source, the man allegedly grabbed an undisclosed amount of on-board equipment with negative buoyancy and went overboard wearing a grey sweatshirt and jeans between 8 and 9 a.m.  The missing man’s attire, combined with air temperatures around freezing and a sea temperature of 34 degrees factored into a maximum survival time of about five hours, according to officials.

Three-foot seas and 20-knot winds were reported at the time of the man’s disappearance, according to the Shmid. “It’s someone’s family member, we’d want to keep searching as long as we could,” Caron said.  “In this case we searched from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 5:30 at night.  That’s accurate for what the gentleman was wearing.”

Shmid sated the FV Karen Elizabeth is in port, and the Coast Guard is conducting a full investigation into the incident to determine cause.  According to Shmid the victim’s identity will be released after the investigation is closed and next of kin notification is conducted.  Shmid added that local police have already notified the family of the victim.

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According to multiple media reports, the search for a missing 26-year-old man has now become a recovery effort after he fell from a fishing boat and into the icy water below.

The Providence Journal’s Tatiana Pina reports that the man fell from the fishing boat the Karen Elizabeth about 1.5 miles south on Point Judith at about 9:30 a.m. A Coast Guard official said that based on the 34-degree water and 32-degree air, the maximum survival time was about five hours. WPRO first reported the story at 9:51 a.m.

According to an online records search, the Karen Elizabeth is a 78.5-foot, diesel-powered commercial fishing vessel. The boat is registered to South Kingstown-based Salt Pond Fisheries, Inc.

Narragansett Patch will update this story as more details become available.

NESAR March 05, 2011 at 07:30 AM
This is why New England Water Search & Rescue is here!! With a call to us we could have been on scene in a timely fashion with four maned Jet Ski's in the water in groups of two searching for this person. We could cover a large area in a grid pattern. We have divers on call 24/7 We are looking to get a mutual aid agreement with the USCG. We are fully insured and hold a 501 (c)(3) non profit status. We are a large group of volunteers well trained. The USCG has done a remarkable job in this search as we have been fallowing it. We are not spontaneous we must get a call form you to join in. We are here. Well trained, Ready to roll, Use us!!!!!
NESAR March 05, 2011 at 07:32 AM
We are located 15 minutes away form the scene. ( Warwick ,RI )
SCTipster March 05, 2011 at 05:15 PM
The only groups that were called to the scene were the assets that are trained for COLD water search and rescue. With the surf kicked up as much as it was and surface water temps between 30-34 degrees Jetskis would have to be operated with somebody who has been trained and certified to operate in those conditions. Even then, they could only stay out for a short period of time before fatigue set in. The USCG had plenty of the correct resources in the area at the needed time. 4 jetskis with people not ready for that water with a delay of 15 minutes would have just made their job harder. We thank you for your help NESAR but I suggest you focus on upper bay where your services could be more helpful.
Joanne bianco March 07, 2011 at 06:34 AM
I hope they find him for the sake of his family and loved ones. I lost my brother in those waters and I know what that family is going through. I can only pray they have closure. God bless!

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