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Coast Guard Search For Missing Fishing Boat Off Alaskan Coast

After its distress beacon was found in an oil-slicked debris field, the U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday was searching for a fishing vessel believed to be carrying six people that went missing in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska.

The Coast Guard was alerted by an electronic radio positioning beacon from the ship "Destination" about two miles northwest of St. George in the Aleutians Saturday morning, officials said.

A debris field was found that contained the beacon, a life preserver from the Destination, buoys and an oil sheen, the Coast Guard said.

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Authorities believe that six people were on board, NBC affiliate KTUU in Anchorage reported. The vessel is reportedly based in Seattle.

“We are saturating the area with Coast Guard and good Samaritan assets and hoping for the best,” Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Joshua Ryan said in a statement Saturday.

Sea temperatures in the area were 30 degrees and there were 30-mph winds in the area where the ship went missing Saturday, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said a search with an HC-130 plane and two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters would continue through the night, and a cutter from nearby Dutch Harbor is on its way.

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"The reason for a response this large is usually because, when we reach the location the (distress beacon) is giving us, it's with the vessel," Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson said Saturday.

The status of the search was unclear early Sunday.

St. George Island is around 200 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor and the rest of the main chain of Aleutians, which extend from the southwestern part of mainland Alaska.