COASTGUARD NEWS - SOUTHERN                  

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Southern 146/01
1 October 2001

SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING ATLANTIC ROWER


Nenad Belic

Falmouth Coastguard are continuing to co-ordinate the search for the missing American Atlantic rower, 62 year old retired Chicago cardiologist Nenad Belic, after an emergency beacon was set off 230 miles west of Ireland.

The RAF rescue helicopter that was scrambled from Chivenor identified the light of the emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) during the night floating and detached from the vessel. Resources are now searching for the rowing boat and Dr Belic. A third Nimrod is currently on its way to the scene (two were used during the night) and a fishing vessel is also on scene and searching. A chemical tanker is expected to join the search at 12.00 midday.

Simon Rabett, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager said: "Conditions for searching are difficult with 58 knot
west-south-westerly winds and very rough seas. We have had to release one of the ships which was searching due to the bad weather.

"The helicopter has now returned to base as it has run out of fuel. In long distance incidents such as these we can only use helicopters for specific tasks - such as finding the EPIRB."

The rower, Nenad Belic set off in his boat, 'The Lun' (short for lunatic really!) on 11 May from Cape Cod on the West Coast of America, heading for Bantry Bay in Ireland. His Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) was set off at 9.30 pm last night.

Belic's red cedar boat, measuring 21 feet long by 5 feet wide, is mostly enclosed to protect him from sun and salt sores. A canopy permits him to look about. The oars stick out of ports on either side of the vessel.

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