Monday, July 11, 2011

E-mail response from Congressmen John F. Tierney

Alisha and Jeff Ranen are good friends of Mandi Lee
July 8, 2011
Mr. Jeff Ranen
536 N. Gower Street
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Hello, Jeff:
I received your email this morning.  I was sorry to learn of your wife’s friend’s situation and my sympathies certainly go out to the family.
In response to your email, we’ve asked and received from the U.S. Coast Guard a detailed summary of the actions they have taken to date.  We have encouraged the Coast Guard to continue vigorous activity and my office will monitor the situation closely.  I invite you to share other recommended courses of action as you see fit.
I look forward to seeing you at home soon.  Please do not hesitate to keep in contact with me and with my office.
Situational Updates from the U.S. Coast Guard:
ALAMEDA, Calif. - A Coast Guard C-130 aircrew from Air Station Sacramento is slated to continue assisting the Mexican Navy on Thursday in the search for seven people missing from a charter fishing vessel that sank in the Sea of Cortez, near Isla San Luis, Mexico, early Sunday morning.
Coast Guard C-130 aircrews searched approximately 525 square miles Tuesday, and 472 square miles today. The Coast Guard aircraft assigned to Thursday's mission is scheduled to depart from Sacramento's McClellen Air Field at 5 a.m. and is expected to be given a search area of approximately 500 square miles.
The Mexican Navy is coordinating the overall search and rescue effort and requested the air support from the Coast Guard. Numerous Mexican aircraft and vessels are involved in the operation. Searches conducted so far by all assets have located objects in the water but none of the missing people have been found. Today's search conditions were reported to be excellent with light wind, calm seas and good visibility.
SITUATION UPDATE: Regarding the sunken charter vessel in the Sea of Cortez, MX.
USCG C-130 searched 05 July with negative results. Mexican Navy currently has two small boats and three helos actively searching, two of which were provided by Mexican state authorities. Mexican Navy reports that they do not anticipate suspending on the case anytime today, and will keep the case active. There is a current USCG C130 flight airborne searching in support of the case. USCG has offered aircraft support to the Mexican Navy for 07 Jul.
Additionally, Mexican Navy was able to confirm that there were only 43 persons aboard the vessel. After a verification of the manifest it was proven that the unaccounted for Mexican national was actually not onboard/missing. There remains 7 US citizens unaccounted for.
At 040848Z US Coast Guard (USCG) District Eleven (D11) Command Center received notification from the Bi-national Emergency Medical Care Committee (BEMCC) in San Diego of a Charter fishing vessel that had sunk in the Sea of Cortez near Isla San Luis, approximately 60 miles south of San Felipe. The vessel was a charter boat with 27 U.S. citizens and a total of 44 persons on board (POB). The boat sunk at approx 2:30 Sunday morning in bad weather. It was not until some of the POB swam ashore to the mainland that the mishap was known. Mexican Navy, the Search Mission Coordinator for this case, launched multiple small boats and a helicopter for the initial searches. Mexico requested US Coast Guard aircraft assistance in searching and D11 sent a Sector San Diego MH-60! helicopter to assist with a morning search.
Update 4
USCG C-130 (CGR1703) departed to provided additional searches in the Sea of Cortez, to extend U.S. Search assistance to the Mexico Gov. The C-130 Hercules aircrew arrived in the search area at approximately 12:30 p.m., today, and their first planned search will be 4.5 hours in length. The use of the C-130 allows search planners to expand the search area as well as re-search already covered areas. Coast Guard helicopter crews from Air Station San Diego have been released from the case and have returned to base but will respond if needed.
To date the USCG completed 2 helicopter air searches of the area.  One air search is currently in progress which will cover approximately 4500 sq miles.  
The US Department of State is the main POC for follow up questions on survivors and persons still missing - Ms. Sara Schmidt; 52-664-622-7641, after hours 619-692-2154,
Update 3
There are still eight missing persons and one confirmed deceased. Survivors interviewed on shore claimed the vessel sank quickly in the middle of the night while many passengers were asleep. The U.S. Consulate General office reps from Tijuana are on scene in San Felipe assisting survivors to reacquire lost paperwork and assist with re-entry into the U.S.
Weather on scene is: Slightly Hazy skys, 20kt winds, 4ft seas.
Update 2
USCG MH-60 helicopter arrived and completed search plan. It observed debris, and an oil sheen. No persons in the water (PIW) were located. USCG Air Station Sacramento C-130 aircraft enroute to San Diego to ferry a relief air flight crew to MCAS YUMA. Relief crew conducted subsequent search with USCG MH-60 aircraft. Weather: Current 90°F, Skies overcast, Wind: S 5-7, Water Temp: 84°F, Yesterday's High: 106°F, Overnight Low: 85°F
Mexican Navy is Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator (SMC) and search efforts are continuing at this time.

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