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Coast Guard suspends water search for missing fishermen

Misty Blue (Jim Dills)

The search for two missing crew members aboard a clam boat that sank off the coast of Nantucket was suspended Tuesday night.

The Coast Guard said the suspension came after the pending development of new information related to the search.

A manager for the corporate owner of the F/V Mistly Blue said he believed the boat had been located earlier in the day.

Atlantic Capes Fisheries said the Misty Blue left Fairhaven for Nantucket Shoals at about 9 p.m. Saturday to harvest surf clams. The company said the boat rolled over and sank at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Two crewmen were rescued, but the search for two others continued Tuesday.

Atlantic Capes identified the missing crewmen as 44-year-old Michael Roberts and 32-year-old Jonathan Saraiva.

"I never expected to get this call,” said Tammy Roberts, who is leaning on support from her family as she waits for word on her husband. "Supposedly, they were all suited up to get on the life boat. They said my husband was in the galley he was putting his suit on as well as the other person."

The company said the two crew members who were rescued were the captain, 44-year-old Eric Arabian, and 22-year-old Colby McMullen. They were picked up by another clam boat in the area and transferred to a Coast Guard cutter. Brayton said they were OK.

It wasn't immediately known why the Misty Blue sank. The company said weather conditions were ideal at the time.

Vessel manager Chad Brayton said everything was up to date, referring to the Misty Blue's condition. He said Roberts worked for Atlantic Capes for about five years.

"There's always hope," Brayton said, adding that he last contacted the fishermen at 3 p.m. Monday. “The Coast Guard is investigating. We have no further insight right now as to what happened.”

The Coast Guard was using helicopters, airplanes and boats to search an area about 30 miles by 17 miles southeast of Nantucket. Divers from the Massachusetts State Police were helping.

The Misty Blue is registered to New Bedford, but family members said it was docked in Fairhaven.

The Coast Guard rescued the Misty Blue two years ago when it became trapped in ice. Roberts was also aboard.

For now, his wife holds out hope.

"(It’s) hard to deal with,” she said. “You just have to be there for each other."

Roberts’ family is encouraging everyone to leave candles or flowers at the Fishermen’s Memorial at the state pier in New Bedford.

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