Divers on Monday found a boat that had capsized about a mile offshore, but there was no sign of a 19-year-old man who was last seen in the vessel, authorities said.
Tuan Hoang Ta, 19, and his 27-year-old brother, Khanh Xoang Ta, both of San Bernardino, were fishing near an oil island off of Huntington Beach about 9:20 p.m. Sunday when their fishnet caught the propeller of their boat, causing the engine to stop, Orange County Sheriff's Sgt. J.R. Wilson said.
Crew members of another boat in the area offered to tow the Bright Star back to San Pedro, where the brothers departed, investigators said.
But 10 minutes into the tow, the 36-foot vessel tipped to one side and began to sink, Wilson said. Khanh Ta jumped off and swam to the assisting boat, the Lois D.
"He looked back and saw the boat capsized over on top of his brother," Wilson said. "We think he might have gotten tangled in the fishing net."
U.S. Coast Guard authorities also speculated that Tuan Ta might have been knocked unconscious as the boat capsized on top of him and was trapped underneath as the vessel sank.
Several boats from the Orange County Harbor Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard and a private towing firm joined a helicopter crew in searching the area Sunday night.
One Harbor Patrol boat found what appeared to be debris from the boat and some bubbles rising up to the surface, authorities said. But no sign of Tuan Ta appeared, said Chief Daniel Larson of the Coast Guard.
"The fog got so bad that it became dangerous for us to be out there," Larson said. "We called it off about 3 a.m."
About 8:30 a.m. Monday, the crew returned to the general area where Tuan Ta went overboard. A team of four divers found the boat covered with fishnets but was unable to locate any trace of him, Coast Guard Officer Randy Reid said.
Because of strong currents, divers couldn't get underneath the vessel to look for the missing man, authorities said. The search was called off about 2 p.m. Monday and scheduled to resume today.
The older brother was not injured.