Missing Virginia Beach boaters found, appear to be in good health, Coast Guard says

Missing VB boaters Portugal trip (June 20)
Missing VB boaters Portugal trip (June 20)
Missing VB boaters Portugal trip (June 20)
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 13:45:35-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The search for two Virginia Beach boaters reported missing earlier this week has ended.

The U.S. Coast Guard told News 3 on Friday that Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones, both 65, were found in their boat and 'appear to be in good health.'

Nikopoulos and Jones contacted watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Virginia command center to inform them of their safety and are now en route to Hampton.

Family reported the two as missing after they didn't return from a sailing trip from The Azores in Portugal as expected Monday. (Note: The agency originally said Jones' first name was Gale, but after News 3 reached out for further clarification, officials confirmed her name is actually Dale.")

The pair reportedly were struck by lightning after sailing through inclement weather. After rigging a spare sail, the pair sailed to Virginia.

The two mariners are not in distress and have not requested Coast Guard assistance. All concerned parties have been informed of the mariners safety. 

Missing VB boaters Portugal trip (June 20)
Pictured here are Yanni Nikopoulos and Gale Jones who were reported missing, June 20, 2022, while sailing from Virginia to Azores, Portugal. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Nikopoulos and Jones, are encouraged to contact the Fifth Coast Guard District at 757-398-6390. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

“We are extremely happy to learn Yanni and Dale are found and are safe," said James Cifers, operations unit watchstander in the Fifth District Command Center. "It is truly wonderful the pair will be reunited with their friends and family soon.”

Stay with News 3 for updates.