Search Called Off for Missing Chinese Mariner

File image courtesy Guo Chuan Racing

By MarEx 2016-10-27 19:42:04

On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy suspended a search for a well-known Chinese mariner, Guo Chuan, who lost contact with his shoreside support team on Tuesday. 

His vessel was located about 600 miles off Hawaii. At the time he lost contact, Guo was attempting a solo sailboat crossing from San Francisco to Shanghai with the intention of beating the current speed record.

Coast Guard HC-130 aircrews conducted search patterns near Guo's sailboat on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Navy amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island was in the vicinity and she deployed an MH-60 helicopter Wednesday to assist. Radio hails went unanswered, and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to Guo's boat, the 97-foot trimaran Qingdao China. 

SAR forces followed up by sending a RIB crew to board the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel, but they found his life jacket on board.

The SAR team collected all Guo's belongings aboard for his family and lowered the mainsail, Guo's support team said in a social media post. 

Guo, 50, is still missing. The Qingdao China remains adrift, and the USCG issued a notice to mariners regarding the potential hazard to navigation. Guo's shoreside support team will make arrangements to recover her. 

"Mr. [Guo] was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing," said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard Fourteenth District. "Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate [him]. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community."

In an online post, Guo's team suggested that he was likely pulled over the side while attempting to recover the sailboat's gennaker from the water. He may have had to unhook his safety lifeline prior to that evolution, the group said.