January 26, 2016
UPDATE: Friends still searching for missing Frisco hunter
By IRENE NOLAN
of missing Hatteras Island waterman Rich Baran were out in force in
their boats again today searching for a trace of the 47-year-old Frisco
man who disappeared while on a hunting trip by himself Saturday
afternoon in the Hatteras Inlet area.
Rom Whitaker, captain of the charter boat Release and a friend of
Baran's, said there were quite a few boats out again today as there
have been every day since he went missing.
"It's funny, but I keep thinking I'll see him waving from a duck blind or running along the shoreside," said Whitaker.
Whitaker said the last contact anyone had with Baran was about 2 p.m.
on Saturday afternoon, which was a cold, blustery day. The wind
was blowing about 30 knots, and there were intermittent snow
showers. Baran told a friend on the phone that he had shot some
ducks and would be heading in soon.
But he never made it back to the dock.
Friends started searching for him Saturday night, and the Coast Guard
says it was notified at 11 p.m. on Saturday night about the missing
A Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew launched from Station
Hatteras Inlet to search for Baran, and an MH-65 helicopter crew from
Air Station Elizabeth City launched and arrived on scene.
Friends found Baran's boat with his hunting gear still in it not far
from his blind, which was near the old Dredge Island. The anchor
line on the skiff was wrapped around the propeller. Later, searchers
they found his waders on the soundside of Hatteras spit, near the cable
The Coast Guard officially suspended its search on Sunday afternoon
after covering 33 miles over eight hours, though Whitaker says he's
seen USCG boats out looking. The Hatteras Island Rescue Squad has
also been involved in the search.
Over the last three days, dozens of watermen from both Hatteras and
Ocracoke have been searching on land and on the water, on the oceanside
and the soundside of islands.
"We all hope to find something," said Whitaker, adding that there's "just no telling where he might have gone."
The currents in the inlet area are strong and dynamic, and no one is
sure exactly when the accident happened. The timing of the tides and
currents probably affected the direction in which Baran could have
Baran, who grew up on the Jersey shore, has been around the Hatteras docks for a number of years.
"He's mated for many of us," Whitaker said, and he also had his own
inshore fishing and hunting guide service out of Hatteras Harbor Marina.
"It isn't like he wasn't experienced," he added. "It just seems that everything must have gone downhill in a hurry."
There may be fewer boats searching since the weather forecast is for wind and rain for several days.
But, Whitaker said, "We're never going to give up entirely."