The U.S. Coast Guard suspended at noon Monday, Dec. 13 the search for a 38-year-old South Thomaston man who fell off a lobsterboat approximately 45 miles south of Rockland.

The decision to suspend the search came about 24 hours after David Mahonen fell into the water 30 miles southeast of Matinicus, according to Chief Petty Officer Tim Steele of the Coast Guard Section Northern New England in Portland.

Mahonen was pulled overboard when his foot got entangled in the line that was tied to lobster traps being set, Steele said. Mahonen was able to free himself from the rope and came to the surface where members of the crew threw him a life ring in the water.

Mahonen was turning blue and purple in icy waters and eventually let go of the ring before he could be rescued, the chief petty officer said. Mahonen was not wearing a life jacket or cold water survival suit, the Coast Guard said.

Mahonen was a crew member aboard the Timothy Michael, a 77-foot fishing vessel whose home port is Newport, R.I. The Timothy Michael was in the area around Jeffreys Ledge when Mahonen went over the side of the vessel at approximately 12:20 p.m. Dec. 12.

The weather in the Gulf of Maine was stormy, with 45-knot winds blowing and seas climbing to 19 feet.

The water temperature off Portland was about 45 degrees. Hypothermia can set in within 15 minutes in water that cold.

A Coast Guard Falcon jet, based in Cape Cod, responded to the scene, as did a Jayhawk helicopter also from Coast Guard Station Cape Cod. The Coast Guard 270-foot cutter Harriet Lane also searched for the missing fisherman. The Harriet Lane continued the search through the night, said Coast Guard Petty Officer James McClearn in Portland.

“As soon as we received the report of the man in distress we immediately issued an urgent marine broadcast requesting assistance from any and all mariners in the area,” said Capt. James McPherson, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Sector Northern New England also requested the launch of every Coast Guard asset capable of withstanding the high winds and seas. In addition to our search efforts, we have reached out to and remain in close contact with the family so they remain up to date on our continuing efforts.”