NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: Coast Guard Searching For Men Off Assateague

ASSATEAGUE — The Coast Guard late Wednesday afternoon continues to search for two men missing from a disabled fishing vessel 15 miles off the coast of Assateague after rescuing via helicopter a third man who was found in a life boat.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">

Around 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Coast Guard Fifth District watchstanders received an emergency position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, from the 67-foot fishing vessel “Seafarer” reporting a position about 15 miles off the coast of Assateague Island. The Coast Guard contacted the vessel’s owner, who believed the “Seafarer” had become disabled and the vessel’s sister ship started towing the “Seafarer.”

However, the boat towing the disabled “Seafarer” lost its connection with the boat and lost sight of the “Seafarer” when weather conditions worsened. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched a Jayhawk helicopter and crew to report to the “Seafarer’s” last reported position. Upon arrival on the scene, the Coast Guard Air Crew recovered one man from a life raft and took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. His status is not known.

Meanwhile, the search continues to two other men who were aboard the “Seafarer.” The Coast Guard has deployed a 47-foot motor life boat from Station Chincoteague to search the area. Conditions are steadily getting worse in the search area.

At the time of the release, the Coast Guard was reporting 30-40 mph winds and eight to 12-foot seas. More information will be provided as it becomes available.