US Coast Guard continues search for 2 missing Virginia Beach boaters from Portugal – The Virginian-Pilot

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for two Virginia Beach natives who failed to return to Hampton on Monday after a transatlantic sailing trip to Portugal, coordinate their efforts with authorities in Bermuda and Canada.

Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones, both 65, were reported missing Monday by Jones’ daughter. She contacted the Coast Guard’s Fifth District Command Center on June 17, reporting that she had not received any communication from her mother since the couple left on June 13.

Nikopoulos and Jones were trying to navigate a 36ft sailboat named Kyklades in the Azores of Portugal, a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic, when they disappeared.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Breanna Centeno said the couple departed June 8 from Old Comfort Point Marina in Hampton. They were on their way to the Azores, intending to continue to Greece, but on June 13, they informed their family members that the heavy weather had damaged their sailboat and they were turning back to return to Hampton. The missing boaters were about 460 miles east of Virginia Beach at the time of the call.

Although there is no set return date, Jones’ daughter has indicated that she expects Jones and Nikopoulos to return to Hampton on Monday, Centeno said.

“We have received no signs of distress, however, we encourage the public to keep a watchful eye out for Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Pulliam, search and rescue mission coordinator at the Fifth District Command Center.

The Coast Guard is coordinating with the First Coast Guard District and authorities in the Azores, Bermuda and Canada to track cellphone and radio pings to narrow the search for aircrews, according to a news release from Tuesday evening.

HC-130 Hercules crews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City conducted two overflights of the approximate Jones and Nikopoulos area. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued by the Coast Guard District’s Fifth Command Center to alert boaters in the area to the situation.

“In situations like this, where there are so many unknowns, our coordination efforts must cast a wide and intentional net,” said Chief Brian Gainey, command duty officer. “It’s a lot of detective work, but everything is being done to find these two individuals and bring them home to their families.”

The Coast Guard is asking anyone with information related to the search for Jones and Nikopoulos to call the Fifth District Command Center at 757-398-6390.

Caitlyn Burchett, 727-267-6059, [email protected]

For memory

An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information from the Coast Guard regarding the name of one of the missing boaters. The story has been updated to reflect his name as Dale Jones.

Brandon D. James