Boaters missing after encountering rough weather during sailing trip to Azores
The boaters reported on June 13 that they had encountered rough weather that had damaged their vessel
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is searching off the East Coast for two boaters who are believed to have sailed into rough weather and haven’t been heard from in days.
The agency says Virginia Beach natives Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones departed from Hampton, Virginia, aboard a sailboat on June 8.
The pair was expected to sail to the Azores island chain in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, but according to a phone call Jones’ daughter received, the pair never made it.
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The boaters reported on June 13 to family that heavy weather damaged their vessel named Kyklades and that they were headed back to port in Virginia.
The Coast Guard believes the missing boaters were 460 miles east of Virginia Beach at the time of the call.
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The agency says there have been no further communications with the boaters since the call.
Two HC-130 Hercules crews out of North Carolina have been searching for the boaters but have not spotted any signs of the Kyklades.
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"In situations like this, where there are so many unknowns, our coordination efforts need to cast a wide and intentional net," Coast Guard Chief Brian Gainey said in a statement. "We’re tracking cell phone and radio pings as we work with our counterparts in Bermuda to accurately determine the most intelligent search area for our air crews. It’s a lot of detective work, but it’s all in service to finding these two individuals and bringing them home to their families."
Authorities encourage boaters off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and north of Bermuda to keep an eye out for signs of the missing sailboat.
Meteorologists say the North Atlantic is expected to remain clear of significant storm systems for several days, aiding in search and rescue efforts.