The search for seven men feared drowned after their fishing trawler sank off Santa Cruz Island on Friday night was called off Sunday without a clue as to what happened to them, a Coast Guard official said.
Officials would not classify the fishermen as drowning victims but were doubtful that the men could survive long in the cold Pacific Ocean.
Rescue crews had tripled their search area Sunday to more than 1,400 square miles surrounding the Channel Islands National Park in their hunt for the 41-foot fishing trawler Vil Vana, whose distress call was received at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, officials said.
The Vil Vana, an older, wooden boat purchased in December by Sung Gyu Choi, 30, of Oxnard, was believed to be carrying its owner and six others when it left Ventura Harbor early Friday morning on a shrimping expedition.
Others on the vessel, according to the Coast Guard and to Choi's business partner, Alan Kwong of Alhambra, included crew members Dan Pelton, 33, who lives on a boat in Ventura Harbor and was signed on as captain of the Vil Vana; Benjamin Jordan, 24, of Ventura; Donnie Watkins, 41, who also lives on a houseboat in Ventura Harbor, and John Kim of Glendale, who works for Choi.
Kim's 17-year-old nephew, William Choi, not related to Sang Choi, was also said to be aboard, as was an unidentified man.