Search for Reporter Missing at Sea Called Off After 2 Days

After an unsuccessful two-day search, the U.S. Coast Guard ended its hunt for a Woodland Hills-based sportswriter who apparently fell overboard about 60 miles off Morro Bay during a deep-sea fishing assignment for the Daily News, authorities said.

Jim Bertken, 36, of Van Nuys was presumed swept into the choppy waters early Friday after leaving his cabin on the 65-foot fishing boat Marauder in Avila Bay, near Pismo Beach, and going on deck to deal with a bout of seasickness.

Crew members didn’t realize Bertken was missing until 6:30 a.m., several hours after he was seen going on deck.

The Coast Guard dispatched a cutter from Yerba Buena Island, a helicopter from San Francisco and a jet from San Diego for the search. But by nightfall Saturday, Coast Guard officials called off the search, saying they saw no sign of Bertken.


“We’ve been going over the same spots, but unfortunately we see no signs,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeff Murphy.

Bertken, a reporter for the Daily News since 1989, is married and the father of two boys, ages 5 and 4.