updated 1/28/2007 11:05:25 PM ET 2007-01-29T04:05:25

The Coast Guard said Sunday it discovered a fishing vessel missing since Friday night submerged 36 feet in Nantucket Sound. All four crew members were still missing.

Coast Guard rescuers said it appeared unlikely the crew would be found alive in the frigid waters. The vessel’s lone life raft was found attached to the boat. Still, two Coast Guard cutters continued searching overnight, using massive search lights and a grid system to scan the ocean surface.

The 75-foot Lady of Grace was last heard from Friday night and was supposed to return to New Bedford Harbor early Saturday.

Divers from the Massachusetts Law Enforcement council identified the vessel lying on its port side 11 nautical miles north of Nantucket, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

At the time the boat went missing, the wind was blowing at about 30 to 35 mph with 8 to 10 foot waves.

“Clearly it was extremely cold and icing conditions were severe,” Coast Guard spokesman Benjamin Benson said. The boat’s trip had been cut in half, to four days, because of the weather.

Searchers spotted an oil sheen on the surface of the water and some small wood chips and debris on Saturday. Officials used underwater cameras and sonar Sunday to detect the sunken fishing boat, and divers confirmed the find.

The Coast Guard identified the crew as Antonio Barroqueiro, Rogerio Vendura, Mario Farinha, and Joao Silva, and said they were in contact with their family members.

Twenty-five individual searches have been conducted since Saturday morning using two Coast Guard cutters, three smaller boats, a Jayhawk Helicopter and a jet from the Cape Cod Air Station. The search has covered 6,000 square miles.

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard had to tow the Lady of Grace after the crew radioed for help, saying they were without power and drifting.

Benson said the Lady of Grace was owned by the Santos Fishing Corp. of New Bedford. There was no phone listing for a company by that name.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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