Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell overboard from cargo ship off Virginia

By LEE TOLLIVER | The Virginian-Pilot (Tribune News Service) | Published: March 13, 2018

A 33-year-old crewman aboard the cargo ship Lara Venture is missing off the coast after falling off the vessel near Cape Henry, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

But after 12 hours of searching across 112 square miles, the Coast Guard has suspended its search, according to a news release.

At a little after 2 a.m. Tuesday, the Chinese man was reported in the water. An urgent marine information broadcast was dispatched, and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City joined the Cutter Sea Horse from Portsmouth in the search.

The man had been fastening a ladder on the anchored ship's starboard quarter when he fell overboard. He was not wearing a life jacket, and crew members said he was wearing orange overalls and a dark blue jacket, the Coast Guard reported.

A Coast Guard air crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and the crews of Coast Guard Cutter Sea Horse and Station Cape Charles were part of the search, along with Navy helicopter squadron HSC2 from Chambers Field on Naval Station Norfolk, and a Virginia Pilot Association boat crew.

Water temperatures in the area are in the mid-40s and seas are rough.

"Suspending a search is one of the most difficult choices we have to make in the Coast Guard, and several factors - water temperature, weather conditions, and length of time the person has been missing - inform the decision," said Coast Guard Capt. Rick Wester, commander, Sector Hampton Roads, in a news release. "We extend our thoughts and prayers to the sailor's family and fellow crewmen."

©2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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