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4 bodies found off coast of Channel Islands

March 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The bodies of four men were discovered Sunday near a capsized boat off the coast of the Channel Islands, authorities said.

The Coast Guard and other agencies found the bodies as they searched for a vessel that had not returned to the harbor.

Three of the bodies have been pulled from the water. A search helicopter saw the fourth body from the air and dispatched a boat to the location in order for the helicopter to go refuel. The body has not been recovered. The search was expected to resume Monday morning.

The identities of the victims were not released. Family members of the missing persons contacted the Harbor Patrol about 11 a.m. to report that the boat had not returned.

The 24-foot boat capsized on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. The cause of the accident is unknown, but officials said the weather may have been a factor.

"The mariner who owned that vessel had done that trip out to Santa Cruz Island, from our information, multiple times. But the one thing everyone has to remember is, just because the boat is the same, just because the people operating the boat are the same, the weather and the sea state are not," said Petty Officer Adam Eggers of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Authorities said the men were not wearing life jackets.