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Coast Guard searching for boaters missing near Bering Sea village of Wales

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a teenager and a young man last seen in a wooden rowboat near the village of Wales on the Bering Sea coast.

No signs of the boaters or their boat were found overnight Sunday, according to Ray Dwyer, the command duty officer with the Coast Guard's rescue coordination center in Juneau. Spotters on fixed-wing aircraft were having trouble seeing through cloud cover in the area.

Helicopter flights were planned for Monday to get searchers beneath the clouds.

Searchers were also awaiting Monday morning's arrival of the University of Alaska Fairbanks research vessel Sikuliaq, which had been near St. Lawrence Island and was diverted to the scene.

"They volunteered to travel to the search area and do some surface searching there and serve as a communications link," Dwyer said. "Our aircraft are having a little trouble hearing our communications now, which are in Kodiak."

The 23-year-old and 14-year-old, both male, launched a wooden rowboat at about 2 a.m. Sunday in Wales, according to a statement from the Coast Guard. At 2:30 a.m., the two were heard "yelling for help," the Coast Guard reported. They had no life jackets or survival equipment, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard did not release the names of the boaters. The weather on scene Sunday was 33 degrees with 2 to 4 foot seas, 25 mph winds and light rain, mist and fog.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer 2nd Class Meredith Manning said water temperatures in the search area were just under 40 degrees Monday. Coast Guard helicopters and the Sikuliaq were continuing search efforts, which were expected to continue until Tuesday morning.

Wales is a village of 145 people at the tip of Seward Peninsula, north of Nome. It is the westernmost settlement in mainland North America.

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