The Coast Guard searched on Wednesday for two crewmembers of a tugboat that sank about 40 miles off Cape Fear in gale-force wind and high seas as a storm lashed the East Coast. One crewmate was confirmed dead.

The 135-foot tugboat Valour began sinking late Tuesday while pulling a 500-foot barge loaded with petroleum byproduct, the Coast Guard said.

One of the two missing sailors probably stayed with the Valour when it sank and the other was wearing survival gear that could allow him to survive in the water for up to 30 hours, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Lawrence Chambers.

A third sailor was rescued by the crew of a Coast Guard helicopter and taken to a hospital in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Chambers said.

Five others were rescued by another tug boat, the Justin Fox, before the Valour sank. The Justin Fox also was carrying the body of a dead Valour crewmate, but it wasn't clear when the sailor died, Chambers said.

The barge was found adrift Wednesday, Chambers said.