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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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November 6, 2009     The Catalina Islander
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November 6, 2009
 

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dL Friday, November 6, 2009 The CATAUNA ISLANDER Page 9 t Accident From page 1 David Jines came out to the ves- sel in his 12-foot skiff to render assistance to Jones. Unable to set the anchor or tie up to the Coast Guard buoy near the Casino, Jones said her vessel continued to drag anchor as the wind and swells continued to rise. At about 7 p.m., the Verna Josephine was passing the entrance to Avalon Harbor, but the decision was made by Jones not to attempt to enter the harbor because of her belief that her vessel was not allowed in the harbor "because of insurance reasons." According to Avalon Harbor Master Brian Bray, however, all vessels are allowed safe mooring in the harbor under Small Craft Advisory conditions, regardless of insurance status. By 7:30 p.m., the winds had increased to 20 knots and the swells had risen to between four and six feet. Despite 130 feet of line and an equal amount of chain, the Verna Josephine was still dragging to the south. At this point, Jones said she called the Avalon Harbor Department on her cell phone but the harbor office was already overwhelmed with emergency situations and Jones received no answer. The call then defaulted to the Avalon Sheriffs station and Jones was told by the dispatch- er that the Harbor .Department would be notified. Failing to see any Harbor Patrol vessels; Jones--whose engine was still functioning then decided to motor fixrther out to sea to avoid being dragged into the rocks at Abalone Point. An hour later, after two unsuccessful attempts to find safe anchorage on the Island's southeast end, the vessel had been blown clear around Jewtish Point and was standing off the Quarry. Jones estimated the wind velocity at this point to be 40 knots with swells up to seven feet high. Despite the conditions, Jones felt she had the vessel under con- trol and Jines made the decision to return to Avalon. According to Jones, Jines climbed into his skiff, "powered.it up" and made one swing around the Verna Josephine before disappearing into'the night. Two hours after Jines' depar- ture, Jones--who was riding out the storm with her cat on the floor- of the boat's cabin---decided to call the Coast Guard. "Not a dis- tress call," she said. "I just wanted to make contact." Regardless of Jones' inten- tions, the Coast Guard inter- preted the communication to be a distress call and immediately dispatched the USCG cutter Edisto to her vessel's location. At 10:30 p.m., the Edisto came alongside Jones' vessel with the assurance that they would ride out the storm with her until her sit- uation could be better evaluated. Eventually, the captain of the Edisto made the decision to put Jones' vessel in tow and bring it back to San Pedro. After three attempts to deliver a tow line, the line was finally secured and the two vessels proceeded towards the mainland in the early morning darkness. By 8:45 a.m., the Verna Josephine was securely tied up in Front of Ports O'Call Restart in FEATURING 61L TORRE$ F R I DAY (NO COVER) HALLOWEEN (NO COVER) Every Wednesday 5pm-8pm San Pedro where Jones was greeted by a boarding party of "15 peo- ple from four different agencies," including the Coast Guard and Los Angeles city and port police. - It wasn't until later that ever ning after charging her cell phone that Jones was able to call the Island only-to learn that Jines had never made it back to Avalon after leaving the Verna Josephine the night before. At 8 p.m. Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after Jines had headed toward Avalon in his skiff, Jones called the Coast Guard to report him missing. Once again, the Coast Guard cutter Edisto was-called into action, this time to search for the missing Jines. To aid in the cutter's efforts, a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules equipped for search and rescue mis- sions was dispatched from the Coast Guard's Air Station Sacramento. While the C-130 approached the waters off Southern California, a flight of four Marine Corps heli- copters was coincidentally making its way from Camp Pendleton to a scheduled training exercise on San Clemente Island. At 7:10 p.m., for reasons that are still under investigation, the C- 130 collided with one of the four Marine Corps choppers, an AH-1 Super Cobra with two pilots on board. Witnesses in the area report- ed seeing a "huge fireball" in the night and in the blink of an eye the search for one man became a search for nine men and a woman. With help from the Navy, the Marines and even U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard began to scour an area of 644-square miles of open ocean with ships and aircraft. The search continued through the night and for the next two days. But with the exception of a small field of debris, no trace of the missing crew members was found. On Sunday morning at 9:50 a.m., the search for all of the miss- ing--mcluding Jines--was officially called offand in a ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, flags were lowered to half staff. As of press time, no additional evidence of the missing people has been found. Reports from a"Good Samaritan" call to the Coast Guard regarding a "12-foot dingy" adrift near the Island turned out to be not related to Jines' disappearance. A killer way I;o advert, iee 510-0500 $102.70 value for only Visit your doctor not just any doctor. ,i With full-time physicians and a nurse practitioner dedicated to the island and its patients, we invite you to have an on-going relationship with a )rovider who knows you and your medical needs. 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