- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The search for four missing fishermen whose boat sank off the New Jersey coast entered its second day on Wednesday, and fears mounted that the death toll could reach six.

The Coast Guard was still holding out hope of finding the men, and has asked boats in the area to keep an eye out for them.

“At this time, it’s still a rescue operation,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan Henise said Wednesday morning.

Helicopters resumed combing the ocean at dawn Wednesday.

A Coast Guard cutter searched throughout the night in the area where the Lady Mary went down, about 75 miles off the coast of Cape May.

Two of the three crew members who were rescued Tuesday died, leaving only one survivor of what could rank among the nation’s worst commercial fishing accidents.

All seven crew members were wearing cold-water survival suits before abandoning ship Tuesday, the Coast Guard said, but a national search and rescue expert has said odds are slim they are still alive in the 40-degree water.

Steven L. Labov, chief of the U.S. Search and Rescue Task Force, has said expected survival time would be under six hours in water that cold. The men have been missing for over a day.

There’s still no word on what caused the 71-foot scallop boat to sink. Both the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the cause of the sinking, Henise said.

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