Search suspended for 3 missing fishermen off Martha’s Vineyard

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for three missing fishermen whose vessel capsized and sank off Martha’s Vineyard Sunday afternoon.

The New Bedford-based Leonardo was operating with a four-man crew when it went down about 24 nautical miles south of the island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

One of the crew members was rescued from a life raft about an hour and a half into the search but the three others – identified by the Coast Guard as Gerald Bretal, Mark Cormier and Xavier Vega – remain missing.

The Leonardo (Contributed Photo)

The Coast Guard tells Eyewitness News the search continued overnight and was suspended Monday evening pending further developments.

The rescued fisherman was suffering from mild hypothermia but in good condition overall, according to the Coast Guard. They also said the man was not wearing a life jacket when he was found and he indicated that the other three weren’t either.

Cormier’s sister, Alisha Marques, said her bother is an experienced fisherman and his family is holding out hope that he’ll be found safe.

“He’s my hero, he’s my love, he’s my support, he’s the best big brother that anybody could ever ask for,” Marques said. “He deserves to come home to his fiancée, to his mother who’s in tears and misses him very much, his father who’s waiting for him to come home.”

Marques was at the pier on Monday, saying she needed to be where her brother’s heart is.

“We’re praying he’s holding onto something or he’s able to make it to an island or something or he’s swimming out there,” she said. “We know he’s coming home to us. Until we are told otherwise, he’s coming home to us.”

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