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Coast Guard searches through night for 4 fishermen after debris found off Washington coast
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) ' Two Coast Guard cutters searched through the early morning hours Sunday for four people who disappeared from a fishing trawler.
Crews found a damaged, empty lifeboat after tracking a distress beacon to a debris field and an oil sheen several miles off the Washington coast, the Coast Guard said.
The distress signal came early Saturday from the 70-foot fishing vessel Lady Cecelia, which has a home port in Warrenton, Ore. and is registered to Dale Kent of Bay City, Ore. He could not be reached Saturday by The Associated Press, but the ship's owner told the Guard that four people had been aboard.
"The life raft was in no condition to be used," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert. "There was a lot of debris, a sheen and the (beacon)."
The Coast Guard dispatched two helicopters, two life boats and a C-130 search aircraft. The Guard said it had searched 640 square miles by late Saturday afternoon.
Eggert said early Sunday that the air search was suspended for the night but the 225-foot Coast Guard cutter Fir and the Coast Guard cutter Cuttyhawk were continuing the search through the night.
The Lady Cecelia was first registered in Oregon in 1991. Eggert said he didn't have details on the debris, or whether the vessel was still intact. He said the Guard does not yet know a cause for the damage.
Overnight weather off the southern Washington coast was comprised of a slowly-moving front that created moderate waves but not stormy conditions on Friday night or Saturday morning. The early-morning weather was followed later in the day by gale-force winds.
A buoy located 20 nautical miles off the Washington coast recorded water temperatures of 43 degrees at 4 a.m. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard says one of its helicopters brought four people to safety after their commercial vessel went aground near Newport, Ore. The vessel was reported aground on the south jetty at Yaquina Bay about 5 p.m. Saturday.