Above: the Coast Guard’s airborne search patterns as their soon-to-be 40-hour search for the fishing vessel Lady Luck spreads out along the southern Maine coast of New England (US, near Boston). Note the tighter grid the Coast Guard ran northeast of the EPIRB’s initial location, the looser grid they ran to northeast. The Coast Guard left the Lady Luck’s EPIRB in the water the hopes that its drift would mimic that of the fishing vessel’s lifeboat or two-man crew in their survival suits (also known as immersion abandonment suits.
Below: the Coast Guard soon had two aircraft and the cutter Seneca on scene. The search grids run by the searchers was now broad, widely-spaced, loose. Note how the aircraft, following drift models, focus their flyovers southeast of the EPIRB initial location.
Below: the search continues to evolve and includes another Coast Guard cutter, the Flying Fish, and two aircraft. The search patterns dip, far southeast of the EPIRB’s initial location, to waters northeast east of Boston, Ma., and include cursory runs along Portland, Maine’s shipping lanes and part of the intricate coast of downeast Maine.
Below: the saddest image. When the Coast Guard finally calls off what had been a 40-hour search for the two young crewmen of the EPIRB-equipped fishing vessel Lady Luck, the search has covered 5,000 square miles. Note how dense and thorough the search pattern appears in areas adjacent to Lady Luck’s EPIRB transmission, and how loose, yet specific, the outlying search patterns are to the east, northeast, and southeast: (Double-click the image to enlarge)