Coast Guard suspends search for source of mayday calls
The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday afternoon that it has suspended the search of Buzzards Bay and surrounding areas for the source of three mayday calls.
Officials said nothing was found during the search and that there are no correlating missing person reports or overdue boaters.
The search covered a total of 767 square miles.
The Coast Guard told NBC 10 News that three faint mayday calls came in over the radio Wednesday night, prompting the search.
Multiple vessels patrolled the water after calls were made at 8:31 p.m., 8:33 p.m. and 8:53 p.m.
Authorities said the caller's voice sounded muffled but was likely made by a man. They said the signal was very weak.
"Watchstanders responded to the call but were unable to establish communications," according to a press release from the Coast Guard.
Fairhaven deputy fire chief Todd Correia said the Buzzards Bay Task Force helped in the search.
"We launched a vessel out last night in a combination of firefighters, paramedics, and the harbormaster," Correia said. "We did some searches with the U.S. Coast Guard, New Bedford fire, and Mattapoissett fire."
Correia said visibility was down to about a quarter of a mile Wednesday.
"It was treacherous last night. It was windy. It was wavey. It was stormy," he said.
The mayday calls brought back memories for fisherman Chad Bergeron. His boat capsized and the Coast Guard rescued him.
"When you give a mayday, it's a horrible feeling," Bergeron said. "I was on this boat for five weeks. We were floating around going dock to dock and all of a sudden one day she's at the bottom of the sea and you're riding her down like a roller coaster."
The search included the following:
- Coast Guard Cutter Hammerhead
- Coast Guard Cutter Shrike
- A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Menemsha
- Fairhaven Fire Department
- New Bedford Fire Department
- Mattapoisett Fire Department
- Dartmouth Fire Department
- Massachusetts Environmental Police
While authorities planned to launch a helicopter from Cape Cod, the weather conditions made it too difficult.