The support team for Chinese national Guo Chuan, who was on a solo trans-Pacific voyage, said Wednesday that they have lost contact with the sailor for over 24 hours.
Chinese sailor Guo Chuan missing in the Pacific OceanThe support team for Chinese national Guo Chuan, who was on a solo trans-Pacific voyage, said Wednesday that they have lost contact with the sailor for over 24 hours.
The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boat crew confirmed Guo was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, sent from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the trimaran. The USS Makin Island deployed a Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter on Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Guo.
On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard said that they have suspended the active search for the missing Chinese mariner, who lost contact while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran on a solo trans-Pacific voyage.
The 51-year-old Chinese sailor “was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing,” Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response for the U.S. Coast Guard 14th District said in a statement.
“Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community.”
Guo was last heard just after 3 p.m. on Tuesday Beijing time when his trimaran sailed 900 nautical miles off the west of Hawaii, his team said.
A search aircraft, sent from Honolulu, found the main sail in water, broken off the vessel, but didn’t see Guo on the deck. All attempts to contact the sailor have failed, the team said.
The plane hovered over the vessel for one hour before returning to the base for lack of fuel.
The U.S. Navy has sent two search ships to the site of Guo’s vessel, according to the team.
Guo set sail on his trimaran near the U.S. city of San Francisco on Oct. 19, embarking on a solo voyage to the Chinese city of Shanghai.
Guo, aiming to set a new solo non-stop trans-Pacific world record from San Francisco to Shanghai, piloted his trimaran, the “Qingdao China”, west across the start line under San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. His solo sailing is about 7,000 nautical miles in length and normally expected to be completed within 20 days.
The current trans-Pacific speed record is 21 days, set by crews on board the Italian Maserati.
Guo, who has set a world record for a 138-day solo non-stop circumnavigation, told a Xinhua reporter in an earlier interview that the greatest fear as a sailor was to fall in the water.
“I fear being separated from the ship when I am sailing solo,” he said.
Guo recalled a brush with death in a 2011 trans-Atlantic race, saying he had survived a fall by grabbing a cable. “I was waist deep in the water. If hadn’t grabbed the rope, I would had been thrown in the water. In that scenario, I would never catch up with the ship. My chance of survival would be none.”
Story by Xinhua.