A kayaker who made a mayday call that prompted a large search off the coast of Milbridge was found safe and never knew anyone was looking for him, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Adrian Cerezo was knocked out of his kayak by a wave Wednesday morning and made a mayday call, prompting a search involving multiple agencies and covering more than 400 square miles. Cerezo, whose radio went dead right after he made the call, was able to swim to Bois Bubert Island with his kayak, get back in it and make his way to Petit Manan Point near Petit Manan Island, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard had suspended the search for Cerezo on Thursday morning. But within two hours, the agency announced he had been found.

During the search, the Coast Guard released a 15-second audio clip of the mayday call. An officer with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recognized the voice when he heard the recording on the news, contacted his office and obtained Cerezo’s cellphone number. The officer then called Cerezo, confirmed that he was the missing kayaker – to Cerezo’s surprise – and the Coast Guard was notified.

Cerezo later spoke with the Coast Guard and described being knocked out of his kayak. His radio was water-resistant, but not in a waterproof case, and Cerezo wasn’t sure if anyone had heard his mayday call before the radio stopped working, according to the Coast Guard.

“It’s incredibly fortunate we located him safe on land,” said Ken Stuart, a command duty officer at Sector Northern New England.

Stuart said responders treat every search as if someone is in distress. If a person is safe, they are encouraged to notify authorities, he said.

Stuart said Cerezo was not injured and was wearing a winter wetsuit and a life jacket.

“He absolutely did the right thing by researching the water temperature, recognizing the need to dress for the 49-degree water and wearing a life jacket, all of which contributed to keeping him safe once things went wrong,” Stuart said in a written statement.

Bois Bubert Island is off the coast of Milbridge and Steuben in Washington County and near the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge. The Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol and other agencies searched about 456 square miles for more than 18 hours without success before Cerezo was found.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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