After rescuing 16 mariners off the burning vehicle cargo vessel Sincerity Ace on Monday, Coast Guard, Navy and crews from two commercial vessels continue to search for a handful of survivors who jumped into the Pacific Ocean to escape the flames.
But it looks grim for those victims. Four bodies have been found bobbing in the waves about 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu but they’ve been unresponsive and make no effort to grasp lifesaving equipment.
“The search is still going on at this time,” said Public Affairs Specialist 3rd Class Matthew West, a Coast Guard spokesman in Hawaii. “We’re very thankful for the AMVER vessels who have helped us out in this very remote area of the Pacific.”
Coast Guard watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received the initial distress message from their sister JRCC in Japan at 1:04 a.m. Monday.
The captain of the Sincerity Ace reported a “significant vessel fire, ongoing firefighting efforts, and an intent to abandon ship,” officials said.
At the same time, the Navy scrambled a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft from Patrol Squadron 47 that’s deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.
“It’s not what we hoped to find but we were glad to help everyone,” said Lt. Joe Keiley, a spokesman for the Japan-based 7th Fleet.
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