US & Canada

Two children among missing in California sailboat sinking

California map

Four people, including two children, are missing after abandoning a sinking sailboat in the Pacific Ocean off California, the US Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard vessels and aircraft are searching about 65 miles (104 km) off Monterey, California.

A spokeswoman said the ship made an initial distress call on Sunday at 16:20 local time (00:20 GMT Monday).

Those on board reported the boat was taking on water and its electronics were failing.

Coast Guard officials believe the sailors tried to fashion a makeshift life raft from a cooler and a life-preserver ring as the boat sank.

Petty Officer Pamela Boehland told the BBC the 29ft-boat (9m) did not have a working GPS system, but investigators used the boat's radio signal and radar to focus the search off the California coast.

Upon further review of the spotty radio transmissions from the distressed vessel, the search moved farther south.

California Air National Guard have joined the search.

A man and woman, their four-year-old son and the boy's cousin are believed to have been on board the vessel, possibly named Charmblow.

There have been no missing person reports related to the vessel, and officials are asking those who might have information on the family to contact them.