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Search on for 74-year-old sailor missing off Laguna Beach

August 2, 2012 |  2:12 pm

The U.S. Coast Guard and Orange County sheriff's department have resumed their search for a 74-year-old Newport Beach man whose sailboat was found run aground in Laguna Beach early Wednesday morning, sheriff's department authorities said.

The Coast Guard had two helicopters and a boat combing the area, while the sheriff's department was using a boat to conduct the search for missing boater Andrew Szaz.

Szaz left his home about noon Tuesday and went to Dana Point Harbor, where his 28-foot boat, Babe, was docked, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

When Szaz, an experienced sailor, didn't return by 11:30 p.m., his wife reported him missing to the Newport Beach Police Department.

At 2:20 a.m. a resident reported seeing the boat from his house, Laguna Beach Police Department Lt. Jason Kravetz wrote in an email. The man told police that the boat "appeared to have beached itself on Main Beach."

Officers and marine safety personnel found that the boat was empty but that its sail was up and its lights were on, Kravetz said.

Laguna police then contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol.

Harbor patrol officials responded and took the boat, Kravetz wrote.

The boat's mast was damaged, which investigators believe occurred when Babe ran aground, Amormino said.

Officials continue to search for Szaz between Dana Point and Laguna Beach, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Cory Mendenhall.

The sheriff's department's homicide division is also conducting a missing person's investigation, Amormino said.

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-- Mona Shadia, Times Community News

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