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Unknown Mariner Found Floating Near East Brother Island

Yesterday we received a message from Andy Schwenk, saying a body had been pulled from the Bay off East Brother Island and taken to Richmond Yacht Club. Apart from describing what the mariner was wearing — “foulie jacket, khaki shorts and Topsiders,” no one knew the person’s identity. This set us off on a search to find out what had happened.

This morning we were able to reach the US Coast Guard District 11’s Public Affairs spokesperson, Chief Petty Officer Levi Read. Read told us that at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, the USCG received a call from the ferry Pyxis, in transit from Vallejo to San Francisco. They reported an unmanned liferaft drifting in the vicinity of East Brother Island. The raft was reported to have no motor, only a pair of oars. Read says no owner was found for the liferaft.

At 4:04 that same afternoon, Coast Guard Station San Francisco responded to a call about a body afloat in the water. It was about 100 yards from where the liferaft had been reported. The USCG response vessel retrieved the body and took it to shore at Richmond Yacht Club, where the Richmond Fire Department took custody and began resuscitation attempts.

Read says he is unable to verify the person’s identity, or whether they survived the ordeal. He did say it was an adult male, 40–50 years old. He added that there was no report of anyone missing, and was unwilling to confirm a correlation between the unmanned raft and the missing person.

Asia S., “Stew,” a veteran USCG boatswain’s mate, was flying his drone in the East Bay on that afternoon and caught the scene at the Richmond YC dock. He says he’s been flying his drone as a Citizen Drone Responder, an idea that he feels may be helpful in the future to first responders in their search and rescue efforts.

Video credit: Asia S. “Stew”

Video credit: Asia S. “Stew”


  1. Ken Brinkley 4 months ago

    RIP my friend ,your journey is over ,

  2. Joshua M Williams 4 months ago

    Regarding “Stews” comment about assisting first responders with drones, while coast guard doesn’t currently have drones, many of the surrounding rescue agencies do. Stew is correct as to the value of drones being a helpful tool as long as their in the right hands. They can search ahead of rescue boats and even aircraft, have thermal capabilities, can drop rescue buoys to people in the water, and in some cases the screen can be shared to coast guard to confirm findings meet reported descriptions. A wonderful tool for sure

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