Coast Guard searching for overboard fisherman in Rockland

Posted Dec. 12, 2010, at 6:32 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard was searching near Jeffrey Bank 45 miles south of Rockland on Sunday for a Maine fisherman who went overboard from his vessel.

According to Chief Charles Wheeler of the U.S. Coast Guard station in South Portland, the incident took place at about 12:20 p.m. Sunday. The missing fisherman, David Mahonen, 38, of South Thomaston, was fishing on the 77-foot lobster boat Timothy Michael out of Newport, R.I., when he became tangled in the lead line and was pulled overboard.

Mahonen was able to cut himself free from the line, Wheeler said, and rescuers were able to throw him a life ring.

“He had his hands wrapped around it,” Wheeler said. “But he let go of the ring and sank beneath the waves.”

Wheeler said there was speculation that there may have been some type of medical situation, the result of shock from going into the water, that resulted in Mahonen releasing the ring.

The fishing vessel was headed back to its home port, but the Coast Guard was actively searching Sunday evening in the area of Jeffrey Bank about 45 miles south of Rockland. The 270-foot Coast Guard cutter Harriet Lane was diverted from its patrol and is expected to arrive at the scene around 10 p.m. A helicopter and a fixed-wing Falcon aircraft from the Coast Guard Station in Cape Cod were in the air as part of the search.

The search crews are battling 10- to 15-foot seas and winds in excess of 45 knots. Conditions are expected to deteriorate.

Wheeler said the search would continue through the night Sunday and into Monday if necessary.

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