The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday evening for four missing fishermen whose boat, the Emmy Rose, sank a day earlier off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard said crews had searched throughout the night for the fishermen, who are all believed to be from Maine. The 82-foot boat's home port is in Portland, Maine.
The Coast Guard said it suspended its active search shortly before 5:30 p.m.
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"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one. Our crews conducted searches continuously for over 38 hours covering an area of approximately 2,066 square miles," Coast Guard Capt. Wesley Hester said in a statement. "We extend our condolences to the friends and loved ones of these fishermen during this trying time."
"There's a lot of concern, there's a lot of worry, there's a lot of reflection taking place right now," Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, which advocates for fishermen in the state, said earlier Tuesday. "You can really start to hear it in the fishermen's voices, the stress, the concern. It's a hard, hard time anytime something like this happens."
To help the families of fishermen affected and other fishermen who may be experiencing stress and anxiety because of the sinking, Marten said that the association would be mobilizing a mental health initiative created last year after one of its board presidents, Captain Arnold "Joe" Nickerson IV, was lost at sea last year.
"Fishermen and their families can get access to counselors and we'll pay for the first handful of visits. Right now, it's all telehealth. We have 10 counselors lined up," said Martens.
The Coast Guard said the Emmy Rose sank at about 1 a.m. Monday some 20 miles off Provincetown.
When the Coast Guard First District Command Center in Boston received an alert from the emergency position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, from the Emmy Rose they immediately deployed aircraft and ships to the scene.
By 2:30 a.m., a number of ships and aircraft were searching the area and hours later, an empty life raft, debris and the EPRIB had been found.
By 8:30 a.m., the ship was determined to have sunk and by Monday evening there had still been no other signs of the four missing crew.
The vessel's owner has said all four of the crew were from the state.
"It was a great crew. They don't get any better than that," said vessel owner, Rink Varian in a phone interview with NBC affiliate NEWS CENTER Maine.
Eight-foot waves had been detected in the area where the ship was believed to have sunk.
Family members of the missing fishermen on Monday afternoon had gathered on one of Portland's piers to discuss the search.
"I dropped my phone and fell to the ground because I didn't want to believe it," said Reyann Matthews, whose father, Jeff Matthews was on the vessel.
Joined by her cousin Dana, Matthews' niece, the pair hugged other friends and family of the missing crew.
"He's been lost in the water before for a day and they found him, we're just hoping for the same result," Dana Matthews said.
As for the exact circumstances for the sinking, the Coast Guard could not immediately say what had happened.