An Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from F/V LEONARDO was received by the U.S. Coast Guard District One command center on Sunday at 3:18 P.M. Personnel from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to investigate.
The F/V LEONARDO was carrying four crew members when it capsized and sank approximately 24 nautical miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. Coast Guard crewmembers were able to rescue one of the four fishermen, Ernesto Santos, from a lifeboat.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched tirelessly for the remaining three fishermen. U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, the 87-foot cutter Cobia, and the 270-foot cutter Escanaba searched through the night and part of the day Monday. After more than 25 hours, the search was finally suspended on Monday evening pending any new information.
It was reported that waves overtook the vessel, causing it to sink. The U.S. Coast Guard indicated that none of the crewmembers were wearing survival suits or life jackets. Conditions at the time of the sinking included 29-knot winds gusting to 39 knots.
The three missing are Gerald Bretal, Mark Cormier Jr., and Xavier Vega. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the missing men.