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Trans-Atlantic Rower Lost at Sea

Compiled by Outside Online

October 3, 2001 A Chicago man attempting to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean remains lost at sea after being caught in a storm a couple hundred miles west of the Irish coast this past weekend.

Around 10:30 P.M. on Sunday, 62-year-old Nenad Belic's emergency locator beacon was activated in high seas and gale force winds, approximately 230 miles west of Ireland, according to the Chicago Tribune. British and Irish rescue planes found Belic's beacon around midnight but no sign of Belic or his 21-foot rowboat, the Tribune reports.

Belic, a cardiologist, set out from Cape Cod on May 11, but unexpected storms kept him close to the U.S. coastline for three weeks. Rowing most of his journey one month behind schedule, Belic ran out of food last month but was able to contact a passing freighter for more supplies, his family told the Tribune. Belic is said to have no cold-weather clothing to protect him from the 61-degree water temperatures.

Belic's capsule-like rowboat is supposed to withstand conditions far worse than the 16- to 27-foot seas he is likely experiencing, Belic's family told the Tribune.

"This boat is built so strongly it's like a cork ... the only thing that could break it would be a huge wave breaking on it," Jenifer Clark, an oceanographer who has been guiding Belic throughout his trip, was quoted by the Tribune as saying. Clark, after seeing the weather forecast for this week, recommended to Belic that he might want to think about terminating his trip.

A number of British and Irish news sources reported yesterday that the search for Belic was called off on Monday evening. Belic's wife has asked the Ocean Rowing Society, which had been following Belic's progress online, to help find someone in Ireland to search for missing kayaker, The Irish Times reports.

According to the Tribune, the Irish Coast Guard renewed the search today after the beacon and life rafts dropped near it on Sunday night drifted into Irish waters.

Belic was last heard from on September 28, 406 miles from his goal.

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