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Saturday, October 29, 2016, 11:51

Support team: We won't give up search

By Xinhua

Support team: We won't give up search

Quo Chuan returns to Qingdao after a record-setting sailing in the Arctic Ocean. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The team of a Chinese sailor Guo Chuan who went missing during the trans-Pacific sailing said on Friday they were saddened by the US Coast Guard's decision to suspend the search for him.

The team said Guo , suspected to have fallen overboard his trimaran between 15:15 and 15:30 on Oct 25 Beijing time, might wear life jacket and still stands a chance of surviving since he has been in the water for only three days.

"The waters off Hawaii was not so cold and he has a chance to survive," said the team, who had written a letter to the Coast Guard, asking resumption of search.

The waters off Hawaii was not so cold and he has a chance to survive

Guo Chuan's team

"We are deeply saddened by the decision to suspend the search and beg you to continue searching until there is confirmation that he has lost his last chance for survival," the group wrote in the letter.

"Guo Chuan's crew will assist regardless of cost, if you could just tell us what to do."

The team said a travel company in Hawaii has offered to provide five to 10 helicopters to search the missing sailor, but they need larger ships with helipads.

"These helicopters can fly 500 kilometers without stopping but the site of the accident is 900 kilometers off Hawaii. We need large ships which have helicopter platforms and equipment to refuel the choppers.

The 51-year-old Chinese sailor was attempting to sail from San Fransico to Shanghai in 20 days or less for a new solo trans-Pacific world record.

The US Coast Guard have suspended the active search for the missing mariner following the boarding of the trimaran. The boatcrew confirmed Guo was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.

Marine and navigation experts on Guo's team blamed Guo's disappearance on the jib, a triangular staysail that sets ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel, which was seen broken from the ship and floating on the water.

Following a research of videos, photos and phone transcripts from rescuers, the experts agreed on two scenarios that led to Guo's disappearance.

When Guo tried to lower the jib against high winds, a difficult task for a solo sailor, the jib suddenly fell. Guo tried to prevent the sail from dropping into the water while standing at the narrow head of the ship. The ship rocked and Guo fell.

The second scenario could happen when Guo dealt with an accidental fall of the jib. Guo unknotted the harness for wider movement on the ship to drag the jib onboard, which got heavier after getting wet. A heavy wave could have thrown the sailor overboard.

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