By WECT Staff | November 10, 2020 at 4:21 PM EST – Updated November 13 at 12:31 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Coast Guard and other agencies have suspended the search for two missing men after their boat was found capsized off the North Carolina coast Tuesday morning.
The two missing boaters, identified as George Hamilton Andrews of Raleigh and William “Bill” Watkins Merriman IV of Wilmington, were last seen departing Atlantic Beach Sunday for a fishing trip aboard the 35-foot recreational boat Strike Zone.
“After the utmost consideration and careful review of all factors involved in this search and rescue case, the Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to suspend its active search efforts,” said Captain Matt Baer, Sector Commander for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “The decision to suspend a search is never easy and our sincere thoughts go out to the families and friends of Mr. Andrews and Mr. Merriman during this incredibly trying time.”
The boat was found overturned around 8 a.m. Tuesday, about three nautical miles outside of the Beaufort Inlet. A diver with TowBoat U.S. determined no one was in the vessel and all the lights and gear inside were still energized.
“The Coast Guard diligently searched with our pilots, boat forces, cutter crews and numerous partner agencies in the water, in the air and on land,” said Cmdr. Corrie Sergent, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “We saturated the vast search area but, unfortunately, were unable to locate the two missing men.”
The Coast Guard and multiple other agencies searched approximately 8,600 square miles over a period of 58 hours.
The following were used in the search efforts:
- Coast Guard Station Fort Macon 47-foot Motor Life Boat
- Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
- Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City C-130 Hercules aircraft
- Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk
- Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal
- Atlantic Beach Fire Department small boat
- Morehead City Fire Department small boat
- Beaufort Fire Department small boat
- National Park Service
- Carteret County Sheriff’s Department
- TowBoat U.S. recovered the overturned vessel
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center at (910) 343-3880.
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