Coast Guard crews continued their search Sunday morning for at least four people missing in the water after a powerful storm capsized several sailboats participating in a regatta near Mobile Bay, Alabama.
The storm rolled through the area about 4 p.m. Saturday and a man was plucked from the waters by the Coast Guard around 9 p.m., Petty officer Carlos Vega said. He said crews would continue searching through later Sunday morning, when they would reassess their strategy.
Vega said the Coast Guard also has established a temporary public information line in order to determine whether any additional people are missing. Anyone with information is asked to call 251-441-6602 or 251-441-6920.
More than 100 sailboats and as many as 200 people were participating in the Dauphin Island regatta in Mobile Bay. Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier told Al.com (http://bit.ly/1GvR7pi) that at least one person was confirmed dead, but he did not know the cause.
“It’s been a very tragic day,” Michael Smith, with the Buccaneer yacht club, told WSFA-TV (http://bit.ly/1FnbAeq). “We’ve had a lot of breakage, missing people, fatalities.”
Susan Kangal, who was on a boat, told WSFA it was the worst storm that she has seen.
“We were probably an inch from capsizing; everybody was ready to jump. I didn’t have a life jacket on,” she said.
The boats were part of the 57th iteration of the race.
“Apparently there were a number of vessels that became distressed, either capsized or what have you,” the mayor said. “They were scattered anywhere from Dauphin Island Bridge all the way out into Mobile Bay and across to Fort Morgan. It was a wide area.”