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U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for missing Chinese mariner

(Xinhua)    15:55, October 29, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said Wednesday evening that they have suspended the active search for Chinese mariner Guo Chuan, who went missing during a solo trans-Pacific voyage.

In a statement announcing the suspension of the search for Guo, Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response for the USCG 14th District, expressed condolences "not only to his (Guo's) family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community."

The suspension of the search came after the USCG crew boarded Guo's boat "Qingdao China" Wednesday afternoon and found only his life jacket.

However, Guo's racing team, deeply saddened by the suspension, said on their official social media page that the team and Guo's family were desperate upon hearing of the USCG's decision to suspend the search because Guo still stands a chance of surviving since he has been in the water for less than three days.

According to the USCG, Coast Guard HC-130 crew conducted six search patterns and the USS Makin Island and a Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter were also involved in the search.

Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the USCG Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu, Hawaii were notified by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China (MRCC China) personnel that the vessel, "Qingdao China," with one person aboard, had not been heard from for over 24 hours.

The Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles then confirmed that the vessel was missing. "Since being informed on Tuesday evening, we have been in close contact with U.S. authorities and rescue teams both in the United Statesand China, urging greater search and rescue efforts," a spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles told Xinhua.

Guo was attempting to set a non-stop solo trans-Pacific sailing record from San Francisco to Shanghai when he went missing. He departed San Francisco on Oct.18 and had been in constant contact with MRCC China and his family during the voyage so he is not likely to miss scheduled calls, the USCG said.

According to the USCG's statement, "the Qingdao China is actively transmitting on an automatic identification system which showed the vessel's position at the time 620 miles northwest of Oahu."

The 51-year-old Chinese mariner is regarded as a very experienced sailor and is reportedly in good health. He has set a world record for a 138-day solo non-stop circumnavigation. His solo sailing is about 7,000 nautical miles in length and normally expected to be completed within 20 days.

While the cause of the incident has not been identified, marine and navigation experts in Guo's racing team estimated that he fell off his boat into the water between 15:15 (0715 GMT) and 15:30 (0730 GMT) on Tuesday Beijing time because his boat was shaking violently.

In an earlier interview with Xinhua, Guo said that the greatest fear as a sailor was to fall into the water.

The current trans-Pacific speed record is 21 days, set by crew on board the Italian "Maserati."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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