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Virginia Beach couple still missing after sailing trip to Portugal

According to the Coast Guard, Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones, both 65, failed to return from their sailing trip Monday.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the whereabouts of two overdue boaters from Virginia Beach. The couple, who sailed from Hampton toward Portugal, didn’t come back from their trip earlier this week.

Yanni Nikopoulos, 65, and Dale Jones, 65, left Hampton on June 8, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Virginia Beach couple headed for the Azores. They set sail on a 36-foot sailboat "Kyklades Toronto."  

A news release from the Coast Guard said Jones’s daughter heard from the boaters on June 13. They said heavy weather damaged the boat and that they were heading back to Hampton.

At that point, officials said Nikopoulos and Jones were more than 400 miles east of Virginia Beach.

On June 17, Jones’s daughter contacted Coast Guard watchstanders. She was worried about the pair's well-being because she hadn't heard from them.

“We have not received any signs of distress, however, we encourage the public to keep a sharp eye out for Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Pulliam, the search and rescue mission coordinator in the Fifth District Command Center.

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard District 5
Pictured here is the sailboat Kyklades, which along with its two operators became the subject of Coast Guard search and rescue efforts. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of this vessel are encouraged to contact the Fifth Coast Guard District at 757-398-6390.

Coast Guard crews from Elizabeth City have flown over the area where they think the couple could be. They also issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, letting boaters know about the situation.

A command duty officer, Chief Brian Gainey, stated in part: “It’s a lot of detective work, but it’s all in service to finding these two individuals and bringing them home to their families.”

Nikopoulos and Jones live in Virginia Beach. 13News Now spoke with several of their neighbors off-camera, who described the couple as outdoorsy people and always pleasant.

Jones’s daughter declined an interview. 

The couple was supposed to return from their trip on June 20. 

Officials with the Coast Guard are working with authorities in the Azores, Bermuda and Canada in this investigation.

Anyone with information on Nikopoulos and Jones is asked to call the Fifth District Command Center at 757-398-6390. 

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