Coast Guard releases distress calls in search for 4 missing boaters

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The Coast Guard is searching the rough waters south of San Francisco for four people, including a 4-year-old child, who disappeared after reporting that their sailboat was sinking Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard on Monday released one of the family's recorded distress calls, in hopes that it will lead to new information from the public that could help in the search. So far the agency has received no reports of missing persons in the case.

The agency believes the boat may have been called "Charmblow." In the crackling recording, a man's voice is heard saying, "Coast Guard, Coast Guard, we are abandoning ship. This is the (Charmblow), we are abandoning ship."

The boaters said in the distress calls, beginning at 4:20 p.m. Sunday, that their 29-foot sailboat was taking on water and the electronics were failing. Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert said investigators using the boat's radio signal and radar believe the call came in from an area about 60 miles west of Monterey, Calif. The boat did not have a working GPS system.

An hour later after the first distress call, the group reported that it was forced to abandon their boat. They didn't have life rafts on board, Lampert said, and were trying to make one out of a cooler and life preserver ring.

Lampert said the Coast Guard then lost radio contact with the group, which included a husband, wife, their 4-year-old son and his cousin, also a child.

Lampert added that the Coast Guard has not received any missing persons' reports, and while Coast Guard crews have conducted several searches of the area using a fleet of boats, helicopters and airplanes, they have not yet found signs of the group. Calls to harbors in California have failed to locate the boat, and database searches have come up empty too, Lampert said. The Coast Guard was expanding to Hawaii, the Seattle area and north into Canada.

The National Weather Service had issued an advisory throughout the weekend warning boaters of strong winds and rough seas around the Bay Area.

Mariners "operating smaller vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions," the advisory said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.