standing U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard officials and volunteers suspended their search Wednesday evening after two days of efforts to locate two missing fishermen off the coast of Block Island early on New Year’s Day.

The Coast Guard said in a press release that efforts were made through the day Tuesday and resumed again Wednesday, but were suspended as of 5:13 p.m. when the pair still had not been located. The two have been missing since approximately 1:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day when their fishing boat, Mistress, capsized near the Block Island Wind Farm.

According to officials, Mistress sent a distress signal indicating that the boat was near the Block Island Wind Farm and was taking on water fast.

“The fishing boat Captain Bligh was nearby and responded to the scene first,” the agency said in a release. “The crew of the Captain Bligh rescued one fisherman and reported that the Mistress had capsized, and two fishermen were missing.”

The Coast Guard launched a full search-and-rescue response, but weather was not cooperative with winds reported to be as strong as 35 knots and sea crests of 10 feet.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod arrived on scene and began searching but encountered low visibility and unsafe weather conditions and was forced to return to base, the organization said. A 45-foot response boat from Station Point Judith also launched but was forced to turn around due to weather.

The 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Montauk were called to the scene Tuesday night and remained onsite through Wednesday morning, officials said. Both assisted with the second-day search efforts.

The Mistress, which had a crew of three men, is homeported in Point Judith. The names of those involved have not been released.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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