Search for missing fishing vessel crewmen suspended

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) The Coast Guard said Thursday evening its crews suspended their search for two mariners.

The Coast Guard says a helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak and four good Samaritan boat crews began the search after the sinking of motor vessel Exito Tuesday evening, 14 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor.

Three of the five people on board the vessel were located by the crew of the Afognac Strait. The men were brought on board the vessel and transferred to Dutch Harbor.

The Coast Guards says the crews of the USCGC Alex Haley and its MH-65 Dolphin helicopter searched for the remaining two people Wednesday night and Thursday.

"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation after thoroughly evaluating our search efforts and the situation," said Capt. Laura Dickey, chief of staff of the 17th Coast Guard District. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing men."

The Coast Guard consulted with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator to forecast potential in the case of a fuel release from the Exito. Officials say there is a low probability of shoreline impact and the fuel from this vessel is expected to dissipate within six hours based upon the current weather and sea conditions. There has been no oil sheen or any other indication of pollution from this vessel, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation for potential pollution impacts. Anyone witnessing an oil spill, chemical release or maritime security incident can call the National Response Center hotline at 1-800-424-8802.

The cause of the vessel sinking is under investigation.

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