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updated: 2/25/2013 7:24 AM

Crews looks for 4 in waters south of San Francisco

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Associated Press

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. -- Several Coast Guard vessels and aircraft are searching the ocean south of San Francisco for four people, including two children younger than 8, who reported their sailboat was sinking.

The group was approximately 65 miles off Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay around 4:20 p.m. Sunday when they made a distress call, Lt. Heather Lampert said.

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The boaters said their 29-foot sailboat was taking on water and their electronics were failing. The bay is about 25 miles south of San Francisco.

An hour later, the group reported that it was forced to abandon the boat. They didn't have life rafts so they were trying to make one out of a cooler and life preserver ring, Lampert said.

The Coast Guard then lost radio contact with the group.

The National Weather Service had issued an advisory throughout the weekend warning boaters of strong winds and rough seas around the Bay Area.

Mariners "operating smaller vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions," the advisory said.

Media reports said the searchers didn't know who was aboard the sailboat or where it was from.

Lampert said Coast Guard crews were going to search through the night using boats, helicopters and airplanes.

Crews from the California Air National Guard, and Coast Guardsmen aboard a 210-foot cutter, were expected to join the search.

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