US, Mexican officials search for 3 American sailors last heard from 11 days ago
The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting Mexican Navy crews in the search for the three American sailors, last heard from near Mazatlan, Mexico, on April 4, according to a Coast Guard news release.
Carrie O’Brien, Frank O’Brien and William Gross are all “seasoned sailors,” according to a joint statement from their families. The Coast Guard said they were aboard a 44-foot La Fit sailing vessel, offshore, as they sailed from the Mexican city of Mazatlán to San Diego.
“The sailors planned to stop in Cabo San Lucas on April 6 for provisions and report before continuing to San Diego,” the news release said.
“However, there was no record of their arrival in Cabo San Lucas or any report of their whereabouts.”
Rescue coordinators have contacted marinas throughout Baja, Mexico, but there have been no sightings of the vessel, the news release said.
“Urgent marine information broadcasts have been issued on VHF radio and all mariners are requested to search for missing persons and vessel,” the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard officials urge sailors or anyone with information about the vessel to please contact the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Coordination Center at 510-437-3701.
The three Americans “are all experienced sailors,” according to a joint statement from their families.
“Bill has over 50 years of sailing experience and is a very talented coastal cruiser. Carrie and Frank have sailed together for 20 years and both hold captain’s licenses with the U.S. Coast Guard,” according to the statement.
Ocean Bound, described as “a sturdy old ship,” departed Mazatlan on April 4 at 9:30 a.m. local time. “A short stop was planned at Cabo San Lucas, across the Sea of Cortez and then up the coast of Baja to San Diego,” the statement said. When they didn’t check in by the end of the week, the Coast Guard was notified.
According to the families, “Cell phone pings on 4/4/2023 show the coast of Mazatlan as calls to the marina in Cabo San Lucas.
Their families believe they were trying to make a slip reservation at the marina. But, since all the calls made were very short, it is believed that attempts to reach someone were unsuccessful, the statement said. These calls are the last known contact with Ocean Bound.
According to the family, the Coast Guard “currently has a ‘voyage projection’ if Ocean Bound has lost radio contact and continues to travel north or south of Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortugas) on the Baja Peninsula to San Diego and search for focused on. There, in addition to long airplanes along the Baja Peninsula.”
According to the statement, the parameters are reevaluated every night to redefine the search the next day.
“The Imperial community has hundreds of additional aircraft searching for our family members,” the joint statement said.
The families thanked the Mexican Navy and the US Coast Guard for their search and rescue efforts.
“He has communicated all his efforts with kindness and compassion more than once a day,” the statement said.