UPDATE: U.S. COAST GUARD, CANADIANS LOCATE DEBRIS FIELD, CONTINUE THE SEARCH FOR MISSING SAILING VESSEL
Date: June 16, 2006
Contact: PAC Scott Carr
U.S. COAST GUARD, CANADIANS LOCATE DEBRIS FIELD, CONTINUE THE SEARCH FOR MISSING SAILING VESSEL
BOSTON- U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Air Force and Canadian Navy crewmembers have located a debris field in the vicinity of the sailing vessel Free Spirit's last known position approximately 200 nautical miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia and 290 nautical miles east of Chatham today.
Items found in debris field include: a wooden door, bleach bottle, milk carton with line attached, and gasoline can. None of these items have been directly linked to the sailing Free Spirit.
Assets currently assisting in the search and rescue efforts or en route to the search area include:
- Air Station Cape Cod HU-25 Falcon Jet
- Canadian H-3 Sea King
- Canadian Air Station Greenwood C-130
- Naval Air Station Brunswick P-3
- Coast Guard Cutter Spencer
- HMCS Halifax (442-foot frigate)
- CCGS Earl Gray
Weather conditions in the search area today are reported to be unlimited visibility, seven-foot seas, 51-degree water temperature and 12-knot winds.
Total nautical square miles searched exceed 6,500.
The Coast Guard received a call at 11:55 a.m. Thursday from the stepdaughter of Jacek Bielecki, the operator of the sailing vessel Free Spirit, stating that the vessel and crew were in distress and needed to be rescued immediately.
While en route to Europe from Newport, R.I., Bielecki, a 56-year-old United Kingdom citizen and Newport, R.I. resident, made a distress call to his stepdaughter via satellite phone and provided the vessel's coordinates. There has been no further communication with the vessel's crew since noon Thursday.
The three other passengers aboard the Free Spirit include:
- Jack Bielecki, a 19-year-old UK citizen
- Richard White, a 34-year-old UK citizen
- Molly Finn, a 21-year-old U.S. citizen and Newport, R.I. resident