Search Resumes for Five Missing Boaters in Mobile Bay

Dauphin Island, Alabama – NEW INFO as of 12:35 P.M. – (SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL STORY)

The U.S. Coast Guard has so far searched 1,773 square miles in Mobile Bay looking for 5 missing people

More than 40 people were rescued after Saturday’s thunderstorm moved across Mobile Bay.

You can read the latest information released from the U.S Coast Guard below:

The Coast Guard continues to search for at least five people in the Mobile Bay area Sunday.

Rescuers searched throughout the night for the missing boaters and have covered a total of 1,773 square miles as of 11:00 a.m., Sunday.

More than 40 people have been rescued by a combined effort of multiple agencies and good Samaritans. One boater was rescued by a Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island rescue crew at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday.

A strong line of thunderstorms pushed eastward across the Mobile Bay area Saturday at approximately 3:30 p.m., resulting in winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Mariners in the area were caught off guard, including a regatta sailing event in the Dauphin Island area.

Mariners in the area were caught off guard, including a regatta sailing event in the Dauphin Island area.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile and Station Dauphin Island quickly responded to numerous calls for help and are coordinating search efforts.

On scene are:

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry and HH-60 Jayhawk crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile.

A MH65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.

Three 45-foot response boat – Medium crews from Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island and Pascagoula.

A 29-foot response boat – Small from Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island.

Many local agencies have responded as part of the South Alabama Rescue, Search and Recovery Network as well as other state and local agencies.

The Coast Guard has established a temporary Public Information Line for this event to report missing people or pollution related to damaged vessels at: 251-441-6602 or 251-441-6920.
NEW INFO as of 11:05 A.M. – (SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL STORY)

  • The U.S. Coast Guard confirms two people are dead and have been recovered from Mobile Bay.
  • One was found yesterday after the powerful storm moved across Mobile Bay. The other body was recovered this morning near Fort Morgan.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard says its main focus is search and rescue at this time.
  • Crews are actively looking for 5 missing people, and not all of those were connected to the Dauphin Island Regatta boat race.
  • At least 10 vessels or boats capsized during the severe thunderstorm, and only 3 were connected with the boat race.
  • The Coast Guard says not all of the vessels were manned.
  • Numerous aircraft and boats are conducting searches. Those crew members belong to the U.S. Coast Guard, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and local authorities.
  • Captain Duke Walker is the Coast Guard Sector Commander in Mobile. Walker says conditions today are optimal for searching. There are sunny skies, smooth seas, and light wind.
  • Captain Walker welcomes on shore searches but is cautious about regular boaters joining the search. He says volunteers should first call the Coast Guard at 251.441.6920.

—–

(Original story) Search and rescue efforts are resuming for five missing boaters after a strong thunderstorm caused chaos for sailboats taking part in the annual Dauphin Island Regatta.

As of Sunday morning, one person is confirmed dead, one person has been rescued by the Coast Guard, and five people are unaccounted for following the storms striking Mobile Bay.

The Coast Guard and other agencies first began receiving reports that the strong storms capsized boats and scattered its passengers in the bay around 4:30pm.

Search and rescue efforts were immediately launched, followed by the discovery of one body. Authorities have not released the identity of the person who died, or the exact cause of death.

The U.S. Coast Guard found and rescued the one survivor floating near Dauphin Island at 9:00pm Saturday night.

All in all, dozens of people were rescued by fellow boaters in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

As of Sunday morning, the missing person total was believed to be four after the one boater was rescued. However Coast Guard officials made a clarification later Sunday morning, telling News 5 that the missing person count still stands at five.

News 5 spoke to two boaters who were in the water for two hours, clinging to a life cushion.

Randy Rutledge and his wife say they’re grateful for their lives after finally being spotted and rescued.

“I said Jesus calm the waters,” Rutledge told News 5. “And the storm subsided just enough that I could keep my head up and not drink too much salt water but I had no choice but to hang on to that cushion because I had to find her.”

There were reports that one sailboat had collided with the Dauphin Island Bridge. Shortly after that report came news that there were several boats, capsized in the rough waters.

Sean Brown of the Pensacola Yacht Club sent News 5 a video showing waves breaking over the bow of his boat and whitecaps in Mobile Bay.

We will continue to update this story as details become available.

You can learn more about the Dauphin Island Regatta here: http://fairhopeyachtclub.com/2015-dauphin-island-race/

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