Hope remains for RI sailor lost at sea

LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) – The search continued Friday for a sailor from Rhode Island who went overboard the USS Normandy Tuesday afternoon.

The Navy said it happened during a training mission near Cherry Point, North Carolina, about 80 miles off shore. Petty Officer Christopher Clavin has not been seen since.

The Navy said personnel saw Clavin fall into the water and a search began immediately for the 23-year-old. Those closest to him said if anyone can survive this long, it’s Clavin.

Clavin joined the navy right after he graduated from Lincoln High School.

“He loved it,” said Devon Duguay, a friend of Clavin’s since middle school.

Duguay said Clavin was always pushing himself to the limit.

“He enjoyed life a lot and was always up to doing something and mastering it,” said Duguay. “Like holding his breath, he actually set his mind on that and was like ‘I just want to hold my breath longer than anybody else,’ he used to actually, for like hours, practice holding his breath.”

According to Duguay, once Clavin set his mind to something there was no stopping him.

“He mastered the Rubik’s Cube one handed,” said Duguay.

The Navy and Coast Guard launched a massive search for Clavin Tuesday using five ships and four helicopters. Additional aircraft from the Navy and Coast Guard have since joined in. Roughly 2,500 miles of water had been systematically searched as of Thursday.

The Navy also released a statement from Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces:

“Every Navy and Coast Guard Member participating in this operation is dedicated to finding our lost shipmate. Our thoughts are with Petty Officer Clavin and his family during this difficult time.”

Clavin’s friends said they still have hope that Clavin will be found alive.

“I definitely have hope,” said Duguay. “If anybody would be able to survive as long as its been, I think he’s definitely one of those people that would be able to.”