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Coast Guard gives update on missing Virginia Beach couple on sailing trip

The last line of communication to family came roughly 460 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

HAMPTON, Va. — The Old Comfort Point Marina offers the last reported sights of Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones.

“There is a lot of detective work and unknown information. What we do know is that there is a daughter concerned about her parents,” Petty Officer Third Class Breanna Centeno said Thursday.

The Coast Guard said the couple, both 65, left for the Azores, Portugal from Hampton on June 8. But the last clue of their whereabouts comes from a June 13 call to Jones’ daughter, telling her that a threat of severe weather caused them to cut the trip short and turn around.

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 just know we’re not able to contact them via radio as of right now,” Centeno said.

That last line of communication came roughly 460 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The couple was supposed to return from their trip on June 20. 

Centeno said because little is known about the couple’s exact location on the water, the Coast Guard has not been able to deploy the assets it normally would in other search and rescue operations.

“We usually do have air support, small boats. The thing about this situation is that we don’t know where to search for them. We also haven’t received reports of distress,” she said.

Centeno confirmed that Nikopoulos is an experienced boater who’s made trips similar to this one before. Right now, investigators need to narrow down the area of where the pair could be, which is why they’re pinging and broadcasting messages to other mariners on the water to keep an eye out for them.

The whereabouts of the boat they departed on, the 36-foot sailboat the "Kyklades Toronto," is still unknown as well. 

The Coast Guard is working with agencies in the Azores, Canada and Bermuda to find the pair. 

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