Man, 3 Kids Reported Missing Off Maine Coast, Search Called Off Next Morning

The U.S. Coast Guard released audio of the man's mayday call

The U.S. Coast Guard searched for a man and three children reported missing off the coast of Maine Saturday for over almost 24 hours before suspending the search Sunday morning.

The man and three kids left from Wells aboard a 14-foot "jon boat" that capsized miles off Kennebunkport Saturday, according to information released by Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. They were said to be wearing orange life jackets when they lost communication with the Coast Guard.

The original call came in at 10:30 a.m., and communication was lost around noon, officials said.

The Coast Guard released on Twitter audio of the man's mayday call, in which the man can be heard saying matter-of-factly that the boat is flipped over and he's going to try to get the children on top of the boat:

"Mayday mayday. Children are in the water now, and I gotta bail out, and we’re just gonna all huddle together and I’m gonna try to get us back on top of the jon boat, jon boat is flipped over at this time, and I’m going to try to get the kids on the boat, on the top of the boat, lift them up if possible, if not, we’re all gonna just huddle in the water."

A Coast Guard helicopter, airplane and cutter searched throughout the day about 12 miles off Kennebunkport, along with other agencies.

Rescue crews from South Portland and Portsmouth ended their searches by 10 p.m. Saturday, but a Coast Guard cutter continued its search through the night and until 8 a.m. Sunday. 

"We utilized every resource at our disposal and applied an extraordinary amount of search effort to locate these boaters. If there was anyone in distress we gave them the best possible chance for rescue," Cdr. James McLay, the search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Northern New England, said in a statement.

The search area, which extends from Kennebunkport to Ogunquit, covered more than 1,500 square miles, the Coast Guard said. 

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