An Internet-savvy U.S. Coast Guardsman’s use of the online social-networking site Facebook this weekend helped locate a fisherman thought to be missing and prevented the launch of a search mission that could have cost taxpayers as much as $30,000.
An angler was presumed overdue early Sunday morning after a ranger at Cobscook Park in Eastport, Maine reported a lone vehicle with an empty trailer parked at a launch-site parking lot. Using the vehicle’s license plate, the Coast Guard’s Northern New England sector office located a name, address and phone number, but attempts to contact the tardy owner were unsuccessful.
Before ordering a full-fledged search involving Coast Guard aircraft and cutter vessels, Paul Conner, the officer in charge of the case, opted to do some online searching via the popular networking site, Facebook. He was able to locate an e-mail address belonging to a relative of the missing man, and subsequently discovered the boater/angler had simply opted to moor overnight at a different location than where his vehicle and trailer were parked.
“Sometimes we have to be very creative in our information gathering,” Connor said later. “A simple Internet search can often help us locate a missing person before a boat or aircraft is even on scene.”
We’re guessing that Conner–and perhaps the entire U.S. Coast Guard–now appear prominently on the fisherman’s Facebook “friends” list.