5 missing after sailing regatta hit by storm in Alabama

A multi-agency search is underway and will continue through the night for at least five missing boaters after a strong storm system passed the Mobile Bay, Alabama area Saturday afternoon.

The Coast Guard received reports Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. that a sailing regatta had been hit by a strong line of thunderstorms that passed through the area, with multiple reports of missing persons, capsized vessels and persons in the water.

By Saturday night, more than 40 people were rescued by a combined effort of multiple agencies and good Samaritans.

Local media reports that the bodies of two people have been recovered.

A strong line of thunderstorms pushed eastward across the Mobile Bay area Saturday at approximately 3:30 p.m., resulting in winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Mariners in the area were caught off guard, including a regatta sailing event taking place in the Dauphin Island area.

The agencies continued to search on Sunday for at least five people still believed to be missing. An update Sunday from the Coast Guard said that the search would continue overnight Sunday.

“In a combined effort, multi-agency responders have covered more than 2,500 square miles searching for survivors and we will continue to do so tonight,” said Capt. Duke Walker, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “We are very grateful for the continued assistance of state, local agencies and Good Samaritans who helped individuals in distress. Because of these combined efforts, over 40 people were rescued throughout this case.”

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