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Coast Guard suspends search for fishermen missing off Block Island

The Coast Guard early Wednesday evening suspended its search for two fishermen reported missing off Block Island, Rhode Island, early on New Year’s morning.

Crews searched for approximately 72 hours, covering 2, 152 nautical miles, before officially suspending the effort at 5:13 p.m., the Coast Guard said on Twitter.

The search started shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, after the captain of the fishing boat Mistress issued a mayday call, when the Rhode Island-based fishing vessel started taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

A good Samaritan in a nearby vessel, the Captain Bligh, was the first to arrive at the scene southeast of Block Island. One fisherman was rescued, but the other two were still missing, officials said.


Heavy wind and high seas hampered initial search efforts. Winds of 40 miles per hour forced a Coast Guard helicopter dispatched from Air Station Cape Cod to turn back. A rescue boat sent from Station Point Judith in Rhode Island was also forced to turn back, due to 10 foot high seas, the agency said.

As the weather improved later Tuesday into Wednesday, the Coast Guard dispatched a total of four cutters, a helicopter, a plane and two search boats from stations Point Judith, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, the agency said.

No further information was immediately available Tuesday evening.

Correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed. Adam Sennott can be reached at Adam.Sennott@globe.com.