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Missing sailor found after a month lost at sea

Noel Rubio, 60, disappeared after departing from Long Beach, California, on 28 December in his sailboat

Martha McHardy
Monday 05 February 2024 15:28 GMT
Noel Rubio had not been heard from since 28 December
Noel Rubio had not been heard from since 28 December (US Coast Guard)

A missing sailor has finally been found, more than one month after going missing at sea.

The US Coast Guard launched a search for Noel Rubio, 60, who disappeared after he was due to travel to Hawaii but never arrived.

Officials said he departed from Long Beach, California, on 28 December in his sailboat, Malulani, and was expected to arrive in Oahu, Hawaii, on 18 January.

However, Mr Rubio never arrived in the area on the scheduled date, and his family grew worried about him after he failed to make any contact with them for at least 37 days.

In a post on Facebook on Sunday, Coast Guard officials confirmed Mr Rubio and his vessel had been located, was safe and had arrived in Hawaii.

“Initial indications are a slow voyage,” the official added.

He is now believed to have made contact with his family, according to reports.

The Coast Guard previously said the 60-year-old has a marine band radio on board, which is believed to be his only means of communication.

Search and rescue (SAR) mission coordinator in the Rescue Coordination Center Alameda, Douglas Samp, advised that anyone attempting an open-ocean crossing should have multiple forms of communication at hand.

“Mariners intending to conduct an open ocean passage are highly encouraged to have multiple layers of communication, including a VHF-FM DSC radio, HF DSC radio, satellite communications, and a 406Mhz emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) as the notification of last resort to help SAR authorities locate your position in a time of need,” he said.

Following Mr Rubio’s disappearance, maritime authorities launched search efforts to determine his boat’s location, including urgent mariner information broadcasts (UMIB) and harbour checks in California, Hawaii, and Mexico.

They also received advice from other sailors about possible routes that Mr Rubio may have taken and had experts consult on how weather patterns might have impacted his trip, according to Mr Samp.

“The Coast Guard is greatly appreciative of the expert consult advice on weather and routes provided by experienced trans-Pacific sailors,” Mr Samp said.

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