Search For Missing Boater Continues Off Half Moon Bay Coast

Investigators on Monday were no closer to solving the deadly mystery involving a so-called ghost boat found spinning in circles off the San Mateo County coast Sunday.

A man's body was pulled from the water. He was identified Monday as 74-year-old Fremont resident Dung Duc Nguyen, according to the San Mateo County Coroner's Office. The boat's captain, Twon "Tom" Tran, is still missing. Tran's family joined the search Monday, hoping he beats the odds and survives.

John Tran knew something had gone terribly wrong when he saw images of his brother's 17-foot Boston Whaler empty and spinning out of control Sunday afternoon. He said he last talked with his brother at 9:35 Sunday morning. Twon had gone fishing with a friend and set out from Pillar Point Harbor with two other boats. They separated to fish. By 1 p.m.. Twon and his friend had vanished.

"The friend of hers that saw the boat spinning around on the ocean with no people in it and wife called my brother, and no response," John Tran said.

"My understanding is that one of the persons on a PWC started waving down our search and rescue vessel and found a body floating face down," said John Moren of the San Mateo County Harbor District.

Coast Guard crews combed the water for hours on Sunday and Monday morning.

Investigators do not suspect foul play. There were no wounds to the body and therefore nothing indicating a suspicious circumstance, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Officials said it's possible a malfunction with the outboard motor could have caused the boat to jerk suddenly and violently, throwing the men overboard and sending it spinning in tight circles.

"Very unusual," fisherman Jeff Bettencourt said. "I've never seen that before, but that's the mystery of the ocean, that there's nobody left to tell the story."

The man who drowned was not wearing a life vest, officials said.

The Coast Guard suspended its search earlier Monday, but the harbor district and the Tran family continued to look for Twon Tran.

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding Tran's whereabouts should contact Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders at 415-399-3451.

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