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The U.S. Navy called off the search for a missing sailor Thursday roughly 24 hours after he fell from a small boat into the Gulf of Aden, a Navy official said.

“The on-scene commander called off Search and Rescue operations, concluded this morning, after about 24 hours of searching for the sailor without success of finding him,” said Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.

The U.S. sailor, whose name is being withheld until relatives can be notified, is assigned to the amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio. He was reported missing about 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday after the small boat he was in flipped, Christensen said.

The temperature of the gulf’s waters was 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and officials indicated the sailor could survive for up to about 12 hours, Christensen said.

The 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat flipped while it was being lowered into the water from the San Antonio, according to a Navy release.

All three U.S. sailors who were on the small boat were thrown when it overturned. Two of the sailors were recovered uninjured, Christensen said.

The San Antonio was preparing to conduct what the Navy termed “routine personnel transfers to another U.S. ship” when the incident happened. The tending line on the front-end of the small boat and its crane cable became hooked, causing the boat to turn over, Christensen said. The incident is under investigation.


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