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Bodies of 2 Fishermen Found Off Newport Beach

July 14, 1994|KEN ELLINGWOOD and TAMMY HYUNJOO KRESTA | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

NEWPORT BEACH — The bodies of two San Gabriel Valley men were found by Coast Guard searchers Tuesday morning amid debris from a boat that apparently sank in mysterious circumstances along a busy shipping corridor 10 miles off Newport Beach.

Family members identified one of the dead as Khanh Nguyen, 50, of Alhambra. The Coast Guard identified the second man as Nhieu Van Nguyen, 52, of San Gabriel. The men are unrelated.

Relatives of Khanh Nguyen told investigators that the two men set out on a fishing trip late Monday night, said Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Scott Carrier. He said the relatives did not know where the boat had been docked. The family became worried when Khanh had not returned by Tuesday morning and called authorities after hearing reports that the bodies had been found.

Authorities received no distress calls overnight and did not know what happened to the two men or their boat. "This case is unusual," said Lt. Jeffrey C. Jackson, commanding officer of one of the Coast Guard boats. "The mystery of it all is that usually people have a chance to get at least one radio call in."

Neither man was wearing a life jacket. However, one was found clutching a life preserver, and the other was holding onto a boat fender--a plastic barrel hung over the side of a boat to cushion it while at a dock, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Liz Brannan.

Brannan said a private boater spotted one of the bodies shortly before 7 a.m. She said a Coast Guard cutter recovered the second body about two hours later amid a floating trail of ice chests, line, a tarp and other debris.

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