The Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies searched throughout the day Wednesday for a missing 60-year-old man near the Bonner Bridge. The Coast Guard suspended their search Wednesday night, after saturating the search area with multiple assets and other agencies.
The girlfriend of the man told Dare County 911 that he had gone out on a boogie board approximately ¾ mile south of off-road vehicle ramp 4 to swim in the inlet Wednesday morning, but he did not return. Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet boat crews were launched alongside an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City. A Coast Guard crew found his boogie board in the water between the remaining section of the Bonner Bridge and the Marc Basnight Bridge.
Coast Guard crews worked alongside Dare County, North Carolina Parks Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore park rangers and North Carolina Marine Patrol. Search operations were conducted for sixteen and a half hours and the search area covered over 43 nautical miles.
“We are grateful for the exceptional assistance we received from the United States Coast Guard, North Carolina Marine Patrol, and the Fish and Wildlife Service,” stated National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.
“It’s especially busy as we begin the 4th of July weekend and it’s very important to be mindful of your environment and wear your life jacket as you head out on the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Dempsey, a search and rescue coordinator at the Coast Guard’s 5th District in Portsmouth, Virginia.
The search efforts were suspended Wednesday evening. The National Park Service (NPS) reports that NPS Rangers will continue searching over the next several days via increased shoreline patrols.