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The U.S. Coast Guard announced late Thursday that the search for two persons missing as a result of the F/V Exito has been called off.
Five mariners were aboard the vessel when it went down 14 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor on Tuesday evening. Another vessel nearby, the Afognak Strait, responded to the sinking vessel and successfully rescued three of those aboard the Exito when it went down.
The 117-foot vessel contacted the USCG at 9:38 pm, and notified watchstanders that they were taking on water and going down. He reported that the crew was donning survival suits and were about to abandon ship. The three survivors reported that the two missing persons were last seen putting on their immersion suits and were preparing to abandon ship.
After receiving the Mayday, watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley to the scene and a Jayhawk from Air Station Kodiak was launched.The Alex Haley, and its forward-deployed MH-65 Dolphin helicopter searched throughout Wednesday and Thursday with no results. The commercial fishing vessels Commitment, Blue North, and Northern Lead joined the Coast Guard in the search for the missing men.
“The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make, and is done with great care and deliberation after thoroughly evaluating our search efforts and the situation,” said Capt. Laura Dickey, chief of staff of the 17th Coast Guard District. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing men.”
The investigation into the details of the sinking is ongoing. The Coast Guard reports that the vessel is not salvageable.