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Isle Coast Guard planes join search for Brit missing at sea

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:12 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2013

The Coast Guard and Navy Sunday rescued one civilian from a sailboat in distress and are searching for another who fell overboard 500 miles west of Midway Atoll.

Both are British citizens who were aboard a 38-foot sailboat.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu was contacted by its counterpart in Falmouth, England, at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, notifying them that one of two crewmembers had fallen off the boat. 

The missing sailor, 35, is wearing a yellow lifejacket and was reportedly conscious when he went into the water, the Coast Guard said Sunday. The remaining person aboard was described as an inexperienced sailor.

The Navy warship USS Peleliu, a Tarawa Class amphibious assault ship based in San Diego, was diverted from their homeward bound transit to assist in the search.

The Peleliu deployed two MH-60 helicopters at approximately 5 a.m. to conduct search patterns. One helicopter conducted a basket hoist and rescued the crewmember from the sailing vessel.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew left Barbers Point Air Station at 2:15 a.m. to begin a search of the area. Due to the distance and time of travel from Honolulu, a second HC-130 crew is deploying to alternate search times as crews recover at Wake Island. The crews have the capability to deploy a life raft should they locate the missing mariner.

On scene weather conditions are winds of 25 mph and six foot seas, the Coast Guard said.

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