Monday, February 23, 2015

Coast Guard steps up search for missing sailor

Richard Byhre, 76, is overdue returning to Shelter Island on his sailboat, Princess.
 — Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

SAN DIEGO — A large, military transport plane will join the search Monday for a 76-year-old sailor who went missing after taking his boat out from Shelter Island about a week ago, a Coast Guard official said.

Richard Byhre left Palm Desert for his 28-foot boat, Princess, which is docked at the Southwestern Yacht Club on Feb. 10, his wife, Bonnie Byhre said. He planned to depart from the Shelter Island dock on Feb. 14 or 15, but he didn't detail where he'd be going or for how long. That fact alone didn't worry his wife, who said they have spent decades sailing together, including a trip around the world.

"He's very competent," the 69-year-old said. "When we sailed to Hawaii he said, 'If Columbus can do it then I can do it with a Timex watch.' I've never been concerned at all, but its been longer than usual."

She told her husband before he left that she'd be at the yacht club for a get together on Feb. 20. When she arrived, he hadn't returned. That's when she reported him missing to the Coast Guard and San Diego Harbor Police.

The Coast Guard searched local harbors and marinas that night. Since then, a 110-foot ship, helicopters and a C-130 have been asked to join the search, said Petty Officer Connie Terrell. A message is being broadcast to boats on the ocean "to keep a sharp lookout" for the missing vessel, Terrell said.

Byhre is worried her husband's health might have something to do with his absence — he is hard of hearing. She said if he used his high frequency radio to call for help at some point, he likely wouldn't be able to hear what was said.

"I'm trying to stay as positive as I can," she said. "The Coast Guard is doing everything they can, and I have faith that they will find the boat or him or something."

Richard Byhre is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 210 pounds. The Princess has a deep blue hull. Anyone with information can contact the Coast Guard Joint Harbor Operations Center at (619) 278-7057 or Harbor Police at (619) 686-6272.

Story and photos:

Richard Byhre's 28-foot sailboat, Princess.
— Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

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