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    Tuesday, August 20, 2019-10:05:42P.M.






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Regional News

Marshall Islanders lost at sea from Kwajalein

MAJURO — After several days of searching for two Marshall Islands men lost at sea from Kwajalein Atoll last week, the US Coast Guard called off its search.

There has been no sign of Danny Emmius and Leander Loeak in over 10 days, Marshall Islands law enforcement officials who have been involved in the ongoing search for the two men said Thursday.

Click to enlarge
An aerial view of the southern portion of Kwajalein Atoll, with the U.S. Army base island at Kwajalein visible in the foreground with runway, and Ebeye, home of the two missing fishermen, the third island on the right side along the eastern reef of the atoll.

Local Sea Patrol officers are continuing to search for the men who left Ebeye Island in Kwajalein Atoll in a small boat with one engine for a daytime fishing trip Monday April 15 and haven’t been seen since. Mondays are part of the weekend at the U.S. Army Garrison, Kwajalein Atoll missile testing range, where both men work.

An Ebeye resident said the two men were expected to be out fishing for only a few hours a week ago Monday but never returned. They were fishing inside Kwajalein’s expansive lagoon a few miles from Ebeye, a routine practice for islanders living on this island. But if they experienced engine problems, prevailing currents could have carried them into the open ocean through a large natural pass between islands on the southwestern side of Kwajalein Atoll.

The Coast Guard searched to the west of Kwajalein and Lae atolls, where drift patterns indicated the small boat might be. West of Lae is Ujae and then it’s nothing but ocean until Kosrae and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. It is 650km (400 miles) from Kwajalein to Kosrae, and over 1,000km (660 miles) from Kwajalein to Pohnpei.

Although the men have fishing gear on board, which could help them survive, they have no cover in the small boat and it is believed they don’t have safety gear on board such as a radio or other communications devices.

Marshall Islands Police Department Deputy Commissioner Robson Almen said Thursday that the men have not been located and the U.S. Coast Guard had halted the search after several days of looking for them.

The search by the Coast Guard was suspended Sunday, Almen said.

“National Disaster Management Office was scheduled to have a drought mission to Lib and Namu islands (earlier this week), and Tarlang 04 patrol vessel was to be utilized for this mission,” Almen said. “Enroute and return, Tarlang 04 crew were to conduct an additional search.”

Emmius is a welder at the Army base, while Loeak works at the base landfill.