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Sailors found anchored near Catalina Island

August 16, 2009 |  4:40 pm

A father and son whose abandoned skiff was discovered earlier today in the waters near Catalina Island have been found safe on their boat, officials said.

Rescue crews had been searching for Michael Silliman, 54, and his 19-year-old son, Shaun, since 7:40 a.m. after a partially submerged 10-foot skiff belonging to Silliman was located about a mile northwest of Catalina’s Goat Harbor, said Lt. j.g. Stephanie Young of the U.S. Coast Guard in San Pedro. 

As a helicopter, 42-foot utility boat and C-130 aircraft searched the area, Coast Guard authorities got in touch with the men about 2 p.m. using cellphone numbers provided by their family.

"We were doing radio callouts and we issued an urgent marine broadcast, but they didn’t have a radio onboard," Young said. "Cellphone coverage is very spotty, but eventually we were able to get in contact with them."

Silliman and his son were anchored off Catalina’s Isthmus Cove, where a boat was sent to meet them to ensure they were OK. The men were not aware that they had been declared missing. It was not known how the skiff had become detached from Silliman’s 43-foot sailing vessel, Windwalker.

-- Corina Knoll