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Coast Guard ends search for missing boater

August 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing boater off the coast of Catalina Monday.Dana Point resident Frank Cipriano, 45, was last seen at 9 p.m. Saturday after he anchored his powerboat in a Catalina cove.

The Orange County Sheriff's Dept. has taken over the investigation since Cipriano is still considered a missing person and his last known address is in Dana Point.

Authorities say Frank Cipriano was an experienced boater. The Orange County man was in charge of piloting a 46-foot boat called "Indecent Proposal," hired by a couple for the weekend to take them from Marina del Rey to Catalina Island.

Cipriano anchored the boat in Cherry Cove near Catalina Island Saturday.

The couple told authorities that around 9 p.m., the 45-year-old took a dinghy ashore near Isthmus Cove to get supplies, taking a couple of dogs with him for the trip. The next morning the couple made the discovery.

"They woke up and they found the dogs but didn't find the boat driver, Mr. Cipriano," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew Schofield.

The Coast Guard and a number of other agencies started searching. Cipriano's dinghy was located near a diving spot called Eagle Reef, about one mile offshore. He was not onboard.

"They were searching within a 370-square-mile area," said Schofield.

After searching for more than 40 hours, the Coast Guard called off the search. The water temperature was about 62 degrees, and authorities say the chances of survival for more than 15 hours in the water were dim given the conditions.

"Anything could have happened," said Schofield. "I can't speculate on what could have happened to Mr. Cipriano, but we've exhausted the search area trying to find him. We're still hoping if some new info does come up that we can go back out and start searching again."

Cipriano was last seen a Polo T-shirt and black board shorts.

If you have information about Cipriano's disappearance, you're asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Dept.


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