Only one missing boater remains after Mobile Bay Regatta

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — UPDATE (X4): Two bodies were recovered near Dauphin Island on Thursday, and they were found to be in connection with the Dauphin Island Regatta.

The Coast Guard and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency have confirmed the bodies to be Adam Clark, 17 of Mobile, and Robert Thomas, 50 of Pickens, Mississippi.

The Coast Guard and ALEA continue to search for the one remaining missing person.

UPDATE (X3):  William Glenn Massey, 67 of Daphne, was the resident who was recovered in the vicinity of an offshore gas platform on Tuesday.

A Good Samaritan discovered the body while fishing in the area, and alerted first responders who recovered the body and brought it to the Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island.

Massey was the third victim located as a result of the severe weather that impacted the area during the annual sailing regatta on Saturday.

UPDATE (X2): A body was recovered early Tuesday in the vicinity of an offshore gas platform in Mobile Bay. The body was discovered by a Good Samaritan while fishing in the area, at which point first responders were notified to recover the individual.

The body was transported to the Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island. The Coast Guard and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency have confirmed the person is one of the individuals missing from the regatta.

UPDATE: Crews began searching as soon as they were notified of the incident, but due to adverse weather conditions in the Mobile Bay area, search operations were temporarily suspended on Monday. Searches resumed at 4 p.m.

The Coast Guard, Alabama Marine Resources, Alabama Marine Patrol and Mobile County Sheriff’s Department have all participated in search missions.

“In a combined effort, our multi-agency responders have been searching within the entirety of Mobile Bay and its approaches,” said Captain Duke Walker, Commander of the Mobile Coast Guard. “To quantify that with landmarks, we have been searching from Petit Bois Island to Gulf Shores, and our search area has even extended as far as 27 miles south of Dauphin Island. Our assets have covered more than 3,060 square miles since the onset of the case.”

The number of possible missing people has been reduced to four, after a survivor was located in his home Sunday evening. The man had registered for the regatta but had withdrawn prior to the event and was unaware he was the subject of a search.

ORIGINAL: Search and rescue efforts are resuming for five missing boaters after a strong thunderstorm caused chaos for sailboats taking part in the annual Dauphin Island Regatta.

For updates on the search click here for WIAT 42’s sister station WKRG’s coverage.

As of Sunday morning, one person is confirmed dead, one person has been rescued by the Coast Guard, and five people are unaccounted for following the storms striking Mobile Bay.

The Coast Guard and other agencies first began receiving reports that the strong storms capsized boats and scattered its passengers in the bay around 4:30pm.

Search and rescue efforts were immediately launched, followed by the discovery of one body. Authorities have not released the identity of the person who died, or the exact cause of death.

The U.S. Coast Guard found and rescued the one survivor floating near Dauphin Island at 9:00pm Saturday night.

All in all, dozens of people were rescued by fellow boaters in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

As of Sunday morning, the missing person total was believed to be four after the one boater was rescued. However Coast Guard officials made a clarification later Sunday morning, telling News 5 that the missing person count still stands at five.

News 5 spoke to two boaters who were in the water for two hours, clinging to a life cushion.

Randy Rutledge and his wife say they’re grateful for their lives after finally being spotted and rescued.

“I said Jesus calm the waters,” Rutledge told News 5. “And the storm subsided just enough that I could keep my head up and not drink too much salt water but I had no choice but to hang on to that cushion because I had to find her.”

There were reports that one sailboat had collided with the Dauphin  Island Bridge. Shortly after that report came news that there were several boats, capsized in the rough waters.

Sean Brown of the Pensacola Yacht Club sent News 5 a video showing waves breaking over the bow of his boat and whitecaps in Mobile Bay.

We will continue to update this story as details become available.

You can learn more about the Dauphin Island Regatta here: http://fairhopeyachtclub.com/2015-dauphin-island-race/

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