Post by Amityville Rock on Dec 18, 2003 12:25:52 GMT -5
May 19, 2001 Public Affairs Office (305) 415-6683
Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater off Savannah
The Coast Guard's intense search for Derrick Smith was suspended last night about 9:30 p.m.
The search began early Thursday morning after the charter vessel Obsession sighted an unmanned 28-foot recreational boat adrift about 5 miles east of Savannah, Ga.
The vessel was located with the keys in the ignition, the throttle controls in the full throttle position, the fuel tank emptied and a wallet on board.
The Coast Guard searched more than 5,000 square miles utilizing numerous aircraft and rescue boats. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Savannah began initial searches from the air Thursday while the Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin conducted surface search patterns. The United States Marine Corps from Beaufort, S.C., also assisted in the search. Additional searches by an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and an HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Miami, Fla., found no signs of any survivor.
"Tragically, despite a massive sea and air search, rescuers where unable to located Mr. Smith," said Lt. Cmdr. Ron Labrec of the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami, which oversaw the search efforts. "At this point all reasonable chances of finding him alive have been exhausted and despite the natural desire to keep searching, we have to suspend out efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are know with his family."