SAN FRANCISCO - Friends of the bass guitar player for the 1980s pop band Loverboy took one last look for him in the churning seas of the Pacific Saturday, but found nothing except more waves like the 25-foot whitecap that swept him from his sailboat deck.
Scott Smith, 45, of Vancouver, B.C., was tossed overboard the Sea Major, his 37-foot sailboat on Thursday. The incident occurred about four miles off San Francisco's Ocean Beach, an area where the sea floor shallows and wave heights can grow monstrous.
The wave that took Smith was so strong it broke off the boat's steering wheel, according to a press release from Loverboy's manager Lou Blair. Yvonne Mayotte and William Ellis were below deck when the wave struck the boat and were not injured.
The three were moving the boat to a marina in Southern California, where Smith was planning to stay for the season to be near friends, according to Blair.
The Coast Guard searched for Smith late into the evening Thursday, until high winds and low visibility forced rescue helicopters to return to shore.
''We searched (Thursday) and the helicopter had to come back,'' said U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Carl Hausner. ''They had to return to the base because the visibility was about zero.''
The search resumed Friday, but was called off after rescue teams scoured 133 square miles of ocean without finding Smith or any debris knocked from his sailboat. The Coast Guard dropped a data marker buoy at the spot Smith was last seen in case the search was to be resumed.
Smith was wearing track pants and two sweaters but no lifejacket when the wave knocked him in the 52-degree water. The average person could survive a little less than 2 hours in such conditions, Hausner said.
Distraught friends of Smith from San Francisco and his home town of Vancouver, British Columbia mounted a private search for Smith Saturday morning.
Taking location information provided by the Coast Guard, Smith's friends hired Weststar Marine Service to take them to the spot where Smith was last seen. They returned four hours later after the search turned up empty.
''We went out to the location didn't see anything,'' said Weststar general manager Rich Smith.
The Canadian band, Loverboy, released their debut album in 1980. The group had such Top 20 hits as ''Working for the Weekend,'' ''Lovin' Every Minute of It,'' and ''Turn me Loose.''