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Cold, seasick mariner made 911 call that caused 2-day search by Coasties

PORTLAND, Maine — A 911 call that prompted a two-day search for a sailboat off Maine was made by a sailor who was cold and seasick less than 24 hours after heading to sea, Coast Guard officials said.

The crew of the 40-foot “Dove” eventually reported that all was fine as the sailboat traveled off New York’s Long Island on Nov. 18.

A day later, the three crew members abandoned the sailboat after it became disabled off Virginia. They were rescued by a cargo ship.

A Coast Guard official said the three sailors were interviewed after being rescued off Virginia.

The search covered 3,500 square miles (9,200 square kilometers) over two days before it was called off when family members reactivated a satellite communication system restoring contact with the boat.

The Coast Guard determined the 911 call early Nov. 16 came from 20 miles south of Mount Desert Island.

The distress call was cut off before officials at an emergency communications center could get details.

The crew ultimately abandoned the sailboat after it became disabled in 20-foot seas; the three sailors were rescued by the crew of a cargo ship, the Coast Guard said.

The sailboat is still floating in the Atlantic Ocean. The Coast Guard is broadcasting its location to alert mariners to a potential hazard, but there are no plans to retrieve the vessel.

The Coast Guard said that three sailors won’t be billed for the cost of the search.

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