Crewman missing from U.S. research ship in Antarctic area

A crewman was missing from an American research ship between Chile and Antarctica on Wednesday, and the vessel and a Chilean plane were searching for him.

Joshua Spillane, 31, a marine technologist from Bellingham, Washington, apparently fell overboard from the Laurence M. Gould on Monday, Raytheon Polar Services said. The ship returned to the site where Spillane was last seen and began the search.

Raytheon said the ship was making a routine shuttle between the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station and Punta Arenas, Chile. The trip usually takes four days.

Raytheon spokeswoman Valerie Carroll said the ship carries emergency survival gear but she did not know whether Spillane had any with him when he disappeared. She did not know which direction the ship was heading when he was reported missing.

Survival in cold polar waters us usually only a matter of minutes, before hypothermia sets in.

Raytheon said United States, Chilean and company officials were conducting "routine fact-finding" about the incident.

Raytheon Polar Services, based in the Denver suburb of Centennial, provides science, operations and maintenance services to three U.S. research stations and two research vessels in the Antarctic. It is a unit of Raytheon Technical Services Co, reports AP.

O.Ch.