Search for lost mariner con­tin­ues

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By YAN DONGJIE in Honolulu yan­dongjie@chi­ cn

US Coast Guard res­cue teams were still search­ing on Wed­nes­day for Chi­nese mariner Guo Chuan, 50, who was re­ported miss­ing on Tues­day dur­ing his non-stop tran­sPa­cific solo sail­ing at­tempt.

Wed­nes­day Bei­jing time, Guo’s ves­sel was found about 620 miles north­west of Hawaii’s main is­land of Oahu. The airborne search team did not see Guo on deck, but the main la­teen sail of the 97-foot tri­maran was bro­ken off in the wa­ter.

“It’s hard to say how many per­cent­age but it could be true that the mariner is on­board alive on the ves­sel,” said Tara Molle, a spokesper­son for Coast Guard Honolulu.

The Coast Guard sent an HC-130 Her­cules, a long-range sur­veil­lance and trans­port air­craft, to the area where Guo’s ves­sel was send­ing a lo­ca­tion sig­nal. The crew tried to com­mu­ni­cate with Guo via wire­less walkie-talkie, but failed.

Two res­cue ves­sels have been sent by the US Navy and crews will ac­cess and board Guo’s ves­sel to in­ves­ti­gate, ac­cord­ing to the Con­sulateGen­eral of China in Los An­ge­les.

“It takes a cou­ple of hours for our air­craft to ar­rive at that area, and way longer for the ves­sels,” said Molle, adding that the air­craft crew had been work­ing con­tin­u­ously since Tues­day af­ter­noon lo­cal time ex­cept for re­fu­els.

Guo set sail of his tri­maran Qing­dao China from San Fran­cisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge on Oct 17 for Shang­hai hop­ing to set a new sail­ing world record for solo cross­ing.

The voy­age was planned to be about 7,000 nau­ti­cal miles long and take about 20 days.

Tues­day af­ter­noon Bei­jing time, one week after de­par­ture, Guo spoke on the phone with his sup­port team telling them that all was good and he ex­pected to ar­rive in Shang­hai on Nov 5 or 6.

Shortly after the call, the GPS on Guo’s boat re­ported a sud­den loss of speed, Guo’s sup­port team re­ported.

“After that, we haven’t got­ten through to or heard from Guo via phone calls or in­ter­net mes­sages,” said a team mem­ber.

24 hours after the team lost con­tact with Guo, Mar­itime Res­cue Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­ter China, in co­op­er­a­tion with the Chi­nese con­sulate in Los An­ge­les, con­tacted the Coast Guard in Hawaii for help with search and res­cue.

Guo is a pro­fes­sional sailor in China, and was re­ported to be in good health and con­fi­dent about the voy­age. He holds two world records for sail­ing — a solo non-stop cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion world record set in 2013 and an Arc­tic Ocean North­east Pas­sage non­stop sail­ing world record set in 2015.

Dis­cussing the non-stop trans-Pa­cific cross­ing with re­porters he said, “Most of the pres­sure will come from the weather.”

“When the wind is strong, you may make some small mis­takes and then they may be­come larger and larger. So that’s one of the things I need to be re­ally care­ful about,” Guo said prior to de­par­ture.

Were he to ar­rive in Shang­hai, Guo would be the first ever to fin­ish a solo non-stop trans-Pa­cific sail from San Fran­cisco to Shang­hai.


Guo Chuan, above in or­ange, is seen of by a mem­ber of the Chi­nese con­sulate in San Fran­cisco on Oct 17. At left, Guo’s tri­maran un­der­way at sea.

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