DPS suspends search for missing fisherman

US Coast Guard continues search until today
Filipino fisherman Lito Aguilar is seen here in this undated photo. (Contributed Photo)

Filipino fisherman Lito Aguilar is seen here in this undated photo. (Contributed Photo)

Citing limited resources, the Department of Public Safety suspended on Saturday night its search efforts for a Filipino fisherman who has been reported missing after he went on fishing aboard a boat, but failed to return back to Sugar Dock on Saipan last Wednesday afternoon.

DPS acting spokesman Sgt. Jason Tarkong, however, disclosed that the U.S. Coast Guard continued the search for Lito Aguilar and his white “Calias boat” yesterday and until today, Monday, with a C130 plane and the USCG Cutter “Washington.”

Tarkong said the search pattern will include an aerial search east of Tinian and south of Saipan.

DPS Saipan and Tinian Boating Safety Units along with USCG, Homeland Security Emergency Management and Commonwealth Ports Authority Harbor Patrol saturated the east coast of Tinian up to Forbidden Island, Saipan.

The search also covered 30 miles south to include 25 miles of coastal search of Tinian and Goat Island.

Last Wednesday at 9:17pm, DPS Central received a call of an overdue fisherman, Aguilar, described as over 50 years old.

Tarkong said a witness helped Aguilar launch the boat Wednesday at 12:30pm. The white 17-footer “Calias” boat was described as having a green stripe and a 90-horsepower Yamaha outboard engine. The boat registration number CM-0373-PU is printed on the boat’s side.

Aguilar would fish regularly and return back to Sugar Dock at 5pm.

When Aguilar failed to return, the eyewitness reported the matter to the police. DPS immediately launched Boating Safety patrol boats for the search operation.

Police learned that Aguilar’s fishing spots and points of interest would be the north end of Tinian.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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