An accomplished sailor is missing at sea, days after his empty 50-foot sailboat was found off the San Diego coast, authorities said Saturday.
John P. Buser, in his early 70s, went for a solo sail on Wednesday but failed to return by late afternoon, prompting a massive search.
Buser was last heard from about 1:30 p.m. by phone when he reported his position to be about a half nautical mile from Point Loma, where he lives, said Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Around 4:30 p.m., the Coast Guard put out an emergency alert to all nearby mariners to be on the lookout for the boat, a K-50 named Rendezvous. A Coast Guard cutter in the area found the boat within a few hours, with no sign of Buser.
A search from the sea and air went through the night, with help from a Coast Guard plane and helicopter, a Navy helicopter and Harbor Police. The Mexican Navy was also alerted.
The search continued at first light Thursday but was soon suspended, as the chances of surviving in the 61-degree ocean lessened.
“They searched for three times longer than it was calculated he could survive,” said family friend Steve Wright, who also joined in the search with three of Buser’s children.
Buser is a Navy pilot veteran who is an avid sailor and racer, as well as past commodore of the Ancient Mariner Sailing Society in San Diego.
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