Fishing Vessel with 6 Aboard Vanishes, Leaves Searchers Stumped

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U.S. Coast Guard officials and searchers are at a loss after no signs of a missing fishing vessel – or the six people on it – have been found since the emergency beacon was found Saturday afternoon.

The F/V Destination, a98-foot crabber, went missing in the Bering Sea and sent out a distress signal two miles northwest of St. George Island.

David Wilson and his brother are the owners of the boat and have had it for over 30 years.

“They are a longtime Alaska fishing family with deep roots in the Sand Point community,” said Michael Barcott, the brothers maritime attorney.

Neither the Coast Guard nor the owners have given any theories as to what may have happened to the Destination.

“The boat had left Sand Point, called in Dutch Harbor to pick up some bait, and was on its way to St. Paul Island,” said Barcott. “The EPIRB went off at 6:11 a.m. Saturday, and it appears it was somewhere between two and four miles off St. George Island at the time of the incident.”

The boat’s emergency beacon was found at sea along with debris consisting of buoys, a life ring and an oil sheen.

“We know this: This was a really good and experienced crew,” he said. “This captain had been on this boat for a long time, the boat was in good condition, and it is an absolute mystery what happened.”

With no progress in the search, it’s not clear how much longer the search will continue.

“I’m not sure, and I wouldn’t be able to speculate,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson. “At the moment, we have the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau searching, with an aviation detachment onboard. It’s an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, and two HC-130 Hercules airplane crews.”

“We appreciate all of the Good Samaritans coming together and the community of St. George setting up search parties for the shoreline,” she continued. “We really rely on the maritime community to respond to urgent marine broadcasts, help us get more eyes out there, and hope for the best.”

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