Coast Guard: ‘We’re going to keep searching until we’ve exhausted all possibilities’

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The U.S. Coast Guard continues Tuesday, Oct. 22, to search for a man who went missing while sailing in the Salish Sea near Lummi Island. It was the second day of the search.

Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier told The Bellingham Herald Tuesday that the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin remained on scene overnight and continued to use infrared cameras to search for 53-year-old Nick Saling.

“Unfortunately, we have no new leads,” Strohmaier told The Herald. “It’s a large search area, and we’re going to keep searching until we’ve exhausted all possibilities.”

The Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound was notified by Saling’s sister at 11:30 a.m. Monday that Saling had failed to return on Sunday night after a sailing trip to Cypress Island, according to a Coast Guard press release.

Saling’s 25-foot, yellow sailboat was located northeast of Lummi Island, Monday’s release said.

Strohmaier said smaller boats from Coast Guard Station Bellingham would soon join the Cutter Terrapin in the search Tuesday. A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles also is expected to join the search, but weather prevented it from departure early Tuesday.

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Lt. Scott Huso of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said Search and Rescue coordinator Deputy Mark Jilk and some volunteers are gathering on Lummi Island Tuesday to do a ground search of the area where Saling’s boat was found.

“We are remaining in constant communication with (Saling’s) sister and other family members, but at this time we have no other information to go off of,” Strohmaier said.

Strohmaier said he does not know Saling’s hometown.

Anyone with information on Saling is asked to call the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound at 206-217-6001.

This story will be updated.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.