Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Turmoil's Fate Is Mystery at Sea; A Distress Call and Wreckage Found in Ocean Don't Add Up

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Turmoil's Fate Is Mystery at Sea; A Distress Call and Wreckage Found in Ocean Don't Add Up

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

BRUNSWICK - The Turmoil lived up to its name, becoming the focus of a mystery at sea that partially unraveled Tuesday.

Wreckage from the 65-foot shrimp boat surfaced early Monday about 6 miles east of Jekyll Island and left a debris field from the St. Marys River to Sea Island.

A 12-foot section of the stern bearing the vessel's name, but no clues to its fate, was fished from the water near Cumberland Island by a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue crew.

The night before, a man aboard the sailboat Adventure, off St. Simons Island, alerted the Coast Guard to a "Mayday" distress call purportedly from another vessel that he heard over an emergency marine radio channel.

Although the Coast Guard didn't hear the distress call, it immediately launched a search helicopter but found nothing Sunday night.

The air and sea search for possible shipwreck survivors gained urgency when the state research ship, Lady Lisa, reported finding the debris near Jekyll Island about 10:53 a.m. Monday.

The search ended early Tuesday, when the Coast Guard found the shrimp boat's owner, Jack Evans of Darien.

"We've closed the case as a false alert. ... Mr. Evans told us the vessel sank three years ago as he was towing it out of Brunswick. He said it went down in about 300 feet of water off Brunswick," Petty Officer Donnie Brzuska told the Times-Union.

The site where the shrimp boat went down hasn't been pinpointed, he said.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard investigators are looking into reports that the shrimp boat sailed out of Brunswick Harbor en route to McIntosh County about a month ago, Brzuska said.

"It may be a case of mistaken identity," he said.

Brzuska said Evans was in Brunswick when he contacted them Tuesday morning. No telephone listing could be found for Evans in McIntosh or Glynn County, and other Times-Union efforts to locate him were unsuccessful Tuesday.

An investigation also continues into the distress call, Brzuska said.

"The distress call doesn't appear related to the wreckage," he said.

The Coast Guard saturated the waters off Southeast Georgia with manpower, aircraft and vessels during the 28-hour search for the shipwreck. …

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