The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 75-year-old fisherman who was last seen in the waters near Port Angelas on June 17.
The coast guard said the search for Patrick O’Brien – who went missing on Thursday – was called off at 4 p.m. on Friday after multiple agencies covered 164 square miles during 20 searches over about a 21-hour span.
“The decision to suspend a search is never one we come to lightly,” said Scott Giard, the coast guard’s search and rescue program manager for District 13. “Our crews searched continuously for over 21 hours over the past two days with the hopes of bringing the missing boater home to their loved ones. Our greatest sympathies go out to the boater’s family at this time.”
O’Brien was in a 14-foot skiff fishing with his friends, who were in separate boats, in the Juan de Fuca Strait. On Thursday at 3:26 p.m., the fisherman’s friends spoke to him via cell phone before spotting him for the last time traveling westward 10 minutes later.
After the United States Coast Guard was notified at 6:48 p.m. on June 17, it issued an urgent marine information broadcast and sent a helicopter and boat crew to search the area. The Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Navy were also involved in the search.
O’Brien’s friends told the coast guard that his main engine hadn’t been working earlier in the day and he had been relying on his kicker motor to manoeuvre instead. They also said O’Brien had a large amount of fishing gear and general items on his vessel.
O’Brien has no reported medical problems and his wife told the coast guard he likely had food, water and life jackets with him. However, he and his friends reportedly had no communication radios onboard.
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