Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another sailor missing at sea


A 27-year-old man is missing after a small catamaran capsized off the coast of Santa Barbara in heavy winds yesterday.
A friend who had been on the boat with the missing man, who has yet to be unidentified by authorities, said the two had been out for about 45 minutes when the boat tipped over near the cliffs west of Leadbetter Beach.

“We weren’t that far off the point and we capsized,” he said. “…It was way too windy.”
He made it back to the boat and, unable to turn around in the gusty wind, sailed onto Leadbetter Beach to get help. Fire officials said they received a call from a witness who saw the catamaran capsize at around 6:30 p.m.
The missing man is apparently of French descent and family members said he is a strong swimmer. He reportedly had on a spring suit — a wetsuit with short sleeves and legs — when he went overboard.
Firefighters combed the beaches below the cliffs as best they could with a rapidly rising tide and vanishing sunlight. Harbor Patrol boats churned through the choppy water, casting searchlights across its undulating surface.
As night fell, friends and family of the missing man arrived and began searching along the shoreline as a Coast Guard helicopter directed two large spotlights downward as it roamed up and down the coast.
Firefighters continued searching along the coastline, as far east as the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Authorities did not say how long they would continue searching for the missing man.

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