Chinese mariner on record-breaking voyage goes missing

Updated: 2016-10-27 08:36


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LOS ANGELES - The US Coast Guard said Wednesday that they are searching for a missing Chinese sailor, Guo Chuan, who was on a solo trans-Pacific voyage.


Chinese mariner on record-breaking voyage goes missing


Chinese mariner Guo Chuan sets sail of his trimaran in San Francisco, US on Oct 17, 2016, aiming to set a new solo non-stop trans-Pacific sailing world record from San Francisco to Shanghai. [Photo/IC] 

"We have found the vessel but we have just not see him," an official of United States Coast Guard District 14 told Xinhua. "We don't know whether he is on board or not."

Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu, Hawaii, received notification from Maritime Rescue Coordination Center that the vessel, "Qingdao China", with one person aboard, had not been heard from for over 24 hours.

The Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles confirmed the missing. "Since being informed in Tuesday evening, we have been in close contact with US authorities and rescue teams both in US and China, urging for greater efforts for search and rescue," a spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles told Xinhua.

According to the US Coast Guard, the 97-foot super trimaran "Qingdao China" is actively transmitting on an automatic identification system which showed the vessel's position at the time 620 miles northwest of Oahu.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, sent from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point is searching and the crew of the USS Makin Island is attempting to rendezvous with the vessel to confirm Guo Chuan is aboard.

A Navy MH-60 helicopter overflew the vessel Wednesday morning and was unable to hail Guo Chuan. The Coast Guard Hercules crew overflew the vessel Tuesday afternoon with the same result, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Guo set sail on his trimaran near the US city of San Francisco, embarking on a solo voyage to the Chinese city of Shanghai. He was last heard just after 15:00 Tuesday Beijing time when his trimaran sailed 900 nautical miles off the west of Hawaii, his support team said.

The 50-year-old Chinese sailor, aiming to set a new solo non-stop trans-Pacific world record, piloted the "Qingdao China", west across the start line under San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
He had been in constant contact with MRCC China and family on the voyage and is not likely to miss scheduled calls, the Coast Guard said.

Guo is regarded as a very experienced sailor and is reportedly in good health. The sailor 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.

He told a Xinhua reporter in an earlier interview that the greatest fear as a sailor was to fall in the water.
The current trans-Pacific speed record is 21 days, set by crews on board the Italian Maserati.