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Coast Guard releases audio from missing sailboat

6:35 AM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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The Coast Guard has issued the audio of a distress call from a sailboat sinking off the coast of California in hopes of identifying the voice of one of four people who are still missing after abandoning the vessel.

"Coast Guard, Coast Guard, we are abandoning ship," the operator of the sailboat says in the crackling recording. "This is the (Charmblow), we are abandoning ship."

The message was sent from the 29-foot sailboat identified as the Charmblow around 5:30 p.m. local time Sunday. At the time, the boat was believed to about 60 miles west of Monterrey Bay and 100 miles south of San Francisco. The boat did not have a working GPS system.

n the radio messages, the Coast Guard was only able to determine that the four included a man, his wife, their 4-year-old son and his cousin.

"There is still no information on where the boat was coming from, where it was going or who the people on board are," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz.

The agency said it hopes that someone will be able to identify the voice from the distress call.

Forecasters had issued a weekend advisory warning boaters of rough seas in the area, and water temperatures typically are in the 40s and 50s, making long-term survival difficult.

Calls to harbors in California have failed to locate the boat, and database searches have come up empty, a Coast Guard spokesperson said. The Coast Guard was expanding its search to Hawaii, the Seattle area and north into Canada.

LISTEN: Distress call from missing sailboat

The Coast Guard got the first message from the sailboat at 4:20 p.m. local time Sunday The operator said the boat was taking on water and the vessel's electronics were failing, the Coast Guard reported.

Radio contact was lost after the operator of the sailboat said the passengers were abandoning ship. The Coast Guard said the missing had apparently fashioned a makeshift raft from life vests and a water cooler.

By Doug Stanglin

USA Today

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