Unmanned kayak, life jacket prompt possible missing person search

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A red kayak was found unmanned approximately 16 miles west of Oceanside, Calif., by a Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 helicopter crew investigating a flare sighting on Dec. 26, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A search by small boat and helicopters was being conducted Saturday by the Coast Guard for a possible missing person following the recovery of an unmanned kayak and a life jacket found off the coast of Oceanside.

Coast Guard Petty Office Joel Guzman said Coast Guard Sector San Diego got a call from a fisherman at the Ocean Beach Pier at 1:20 a.m. noting two or more amber-colored flares sent up in the night sky.

“We launched a search through the night with negative results for any mariners in distress,” Guzman said. “This morning, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched and it located an unmanned kayak in the ocean about 16 miles west of Oceanside. We’re not sure if there is a person, but we are searching as if there is one.”

Guzman said the kayak found appears to be like new. He said it is uncertain if there is any connection between the recovered kayak and the early- morning flare sighting.

During the search, a life jacket was also found less than a mile northeast of the kayak, the Coast Guard said.

Guzman said a search was continuing for the possible missing person at sea with the Jayhawk helicopter accompanied by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, and a response boat from Coast Guard Station San Diego.

“If there is a missing person, what we’re hoping for is someone will step forward with information that could be helpful,” Guzman said.

Anyone with information is requested to call the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 619-278-7031 or via VHF marine-band radio channel 16.

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