IM this article to a friend!

April 4, 2005

Coast Guard calls off search for missing fisherman

From: Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC - Apr 4, 2005

Associated Press

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - After searching for nearly 24 hours in extremely rough seas, the Coast Guard called off its search for a fisherman who was lost after his boat sank about 50 miles off Cape Fear.

The Coast Guard decided Sunday afternoon to call off its search for Johnny Brown, 37, of Murrells Inlet, S.C., said a spokesman.

"Unfortunately, no, they did not find him," said Lt. Brian Wilson, public affairs officer at the Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, which led the search and rescue mission.

Two other fishermen aboard the boat were rescued Saturday afternoon after being seen by a Greek-flagged ship, the Sophia Britannia, which was on voyage from Savannah, Ga., to Norfolk, Va., said spokeswoman Krys Hannum.

The survivors were identified as D. Bessent, 41, and Gary McCombs, 46, both of Murrells Inlet. McCombs was flown Saturday afternoon by helicopter to New Hanover Hospital in New Hanover, where he would be released, Hannum said. Bessent was in good shape and rode with the Sophia Brittania to its destination in Norfolk, she said.

The three fishermen on the 52-foot vessel, the Tracy Lynn, were caught in stormy seas and apparently thrown overboard by a large wave that sank their boat sometime Saturday morning, Hannum said.

Waves were reportedly 12-feet high and winds were clocked at 40 to 60 knots.

The two who were rescued were seen in the stormy seas about 2 p.m. Saturday by the Sophia Britannia. Bessent was found clinging to debris in the water and brought onto the vessel by crew members in good condition, Hannum said.

McCombs was hoisted from the sea by Coast Guard rescue swimmer Petty Officer J. Loser, and flown to New Hanover Hospital.

Wilson said three Jayhawk helicopters and three C-130 planes from Coast Guard Air Station at Elizabeth City were involved in the search and rescue, from mid-Saturday afternoon through 2 p.m. Sunday, when the last aircraft landed back in Elizabeth City.

Also patrolling Saturday was a 110-foot patrol boat from the Coast Guard station at Fort Macon. Information from: The Daily Advance,

© 2005 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.