The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 75-year-old man who went missing on a skiff Thursday afternoon near Port Angeles.
The missing mariner, identified by the Coast Guard as Pat O’Brien from Rochester, Thurston County, had been on a trip from Freshwater Bay to Crescent Bay when his friends lost sight of him on his 14-foot skiff, according to the U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest. O’Brien was last seen off the coast of Port Angeles Thursday afternoon.
O’Brien’s friends said they last spoke to him at 3:26 p.m. Thursday. They saw him about 10 minutes later a half-mile west of the Crescent Bay Buoy 2, where he was traveling west using the skiff’s kicker motor. The skiff’s main engine had not been working earlier in the day, and O’Brien was using his kicker to maneuver, his friends told the Coast Guard.
When O’Brien was reported missing at 6:40 p.m., the Coast Guard sent out an urgent marine broadcast and immediately dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles, and a small boat crew from Station Port Angeles. The effort was joined by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Vector and Naval Station Whidbey Island helicopter crews.
O’Brien’s wife said he likely has food, water and life jackets on the vessel, according to the Coast Guard.
On Friday evening, after completing 20 separate searches over 164 square miles, the Coast Guard announced its plans to suspend its search, pending further development.
“We extend our appreciation to the U.S. Navy and Canadian Coast Guard who volunteered to assist in the large search effort,” Scott Giard, the District 13 Search and Rescue program manager, said in a statement. “The decision to suspend a Search is never one we come to lightly.”
Giard continued, “Our crews searched continuously for over 21 hours over the past two days with the hopes of bringing the missing boater home to their loved ones. Our greatest sympathies go out to the boater’s family at this time.”