After covering 2,066 square miles of the Atlantic over 38 hours, the Coast Guard suspended its active search continued at 5:22 p.m. Tuesday for four crewmen missing after the sinking of the groundfish trawler Emmy Rose.
The 82-foot Portland, Maine-based vessel was bound to Gloucester, Mass. to pack out when it sank 20 miles northeast of Provincetown, Mass. early Monday morning, according to Coast Guard officials.
The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Vigorous, a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter, continued final hours of the search along with aircrews from Air Station Cape Cod. With gale warnings, the searchers contended with wind gusting to 30 knots and seas of 5 to 7 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one," Capt. Wesley Hester of the search and rescue coordination group at the Coast Guard First District said in a statement about the decision. "We extend our condolences to the friends and loved ones of these fishermen during this trying time."
The effort began when watchstanders at the Coast Guard First District command center in Boston received notification at 1 a.m. Monday that the Emmy Rose’s emergency position indicating radio beacon had activated.
Vessel owner Rink Varian of Phippsburg, Maine told the Coast Guard there were four people on board, and that there was no answer to the vessel’s satellite phone. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from the Cape Cod air station, while the Vigorous made its way toward the Emmy Rose’s last known position.
The Coast Guard crews found debris and an empty life raft, which was recovered along with the floating EPIRB, but no sign of the crew.
“I hope to God they find them,” Varian told the Bangor Daily News Monday. “I just want to go on record saying this wasn’t because they weren’t an experienced crew. That wasn’t it. These guys were very experienced. They were the best.”
The initial search Monday included a Jayhawk helicopter and HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, the Vigorous, a 47-foot motor life boat from the Provincetown Coast Guard Station and the Key Largo, a 110-foot Coast Guard patrol boat based at Gloucester, Mass.
Weather on the scene Monday morning was reported to 30-knot winds and 6- to 8-foot waves.