Santa Rita, Guam – An overdue skiff reported missing since March 13 with two people aboard was located off the island of Satawal Monday 347 miles west of their departure point at Chuuk Atoll.
Locals from Satawal spotted a vessel with one person aboard drifting approximately one mile from shore and launched a vessel to assist. They quickly determined the vessel was the missing skiff and immediately rendered assistance to the 50-year-old survivor.
The survivor was fatigued, but in good health. The second man reportedly jumped overboard a week earlier, a few days after the vessel became disabled and adrift.
The Coast Guard along with the Navy, Federated States of Micronesia, Australia and several commercial mariners searched more than 12,000 miles and suspended search efforts Saturday.
The search comprised of an HC-130 airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, one Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Okinawa, Japan, one P-3 Orion airplane crew from the Royal Australian Air Force, the pacific-class patrol boat FSS Micronesia from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia and five good Samaritan commercial ships.
Crewmembers at Coast Guard Sector Guam received a report March 14 that a 19-foot skiff departed for a daylong fishing trip in the vicinity of the Chuuk Atoll but did not return.
The Coast Guard, Navy, Australia and the FSS Micronesia searched west and northwest of Chuuk Atoll. Chuuk Atoll is approximately 621 miles south east of Guam.
The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses an area of 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific. Coast Guard aircraft based in Hawaii frequently travel thousands of miles in response to search and rescue and other calls for assistance. The Hercules is scheduled to be replaced by the HC-130J, which will bring increased capabilities to Coast Guard response across the Pacific.