4 fisherman missing off NY/NJ


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May 28, 2002
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Search in its fourth day.  Article from NY post:

                           NO TRACE OF FOUR SHARK

                        By KIERAN CROWLEY

                        June 18, 2002 -- The U.S. Coast Guard is poring over the
                        cell-phone records of one of four fishermen missing off the
                        coast of Long Island to try to figure out where the group
                        was when the man placed his last call.

                        The men, whose boat vanished Saturday morning during a
                        shark-hunting tournament, were apparently last heard from
                        about three hours after heading out to sea - shouting,
                        "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" into their emergency radio,
                        authorities said.

                        "Unfortunately, we've not been able to locate any signs of
                        the vessel or its four occupants," a grim Coast Guard Lt.
                        Cmdr. Brendan McPherson said yesterday. "But we are
                        still searching."

                        Authorities said there is still hope for the men because their
                        tiny boat was equipped with survival suits that could keep
                        them alive in 60-degree water.

                        Missing are Robert Hammond, a 59-year-old retiree, and
                        his son Robert Hammond Jr., 35, both of Oceanside, as
                        well as pals Robert Wright, 46, of Island Park, and Peter
                        Quinn, a plumber.

                        The group was last seen at 6 a.m. Saturday, heading out to
                        sea in the Hammonds' 25-foot boat, Eleni II, about 12
                        miles off Jones Beach Inlet.

                        The men were competing in the annual Hudson Angler's
                        Shark Tournament out of Freeport.

                        Wright and Quinn, fishing with another friend two weeks
                        ago, landed a 192-pound mako - the first of the season.

                        The 5- to 7-foot waves on Saturday sent many tournament
                        entrants back to port, but the event proceeded, sparking
                        Wright's wife to charge it should have been canceled.

                        Toni Wright said two other fishing tourneys were canceled
                        Saturday because of the rough seas.

                        She also said she does not believe her husband, an
                        experienced fisherman, will return home alive.

                        The first radio distress call believed to have come from the
                        small craft was received by two Coast Guard stations
                        about 9 a.m. Saturday. Another distress call came in
                        minutes later, and an initial Coast Guard search was
                        launched without success.

                        When the boat failed to return to the Freeport marina at 7
                        p.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard was notified and a wider
                        search began. It lasted until Sunday night, then resumed
                        yesterday morning.

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