Coast Guard suspends search for two missing men off Eastern Shore

Portsmouth, Va. – The Coast Guard today suspended the search for two men missing approximately 15 miles east of Assateague Island, Md.

Rescued was Patrick Small of New Bern, N.C.

Missing are Steven and Walter Tate of New Bern, N.C.

Coast Guard 5th District watchstanders initially received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon alert from the 67-foot fishing vessel Seafarer at 10:39 a.m. Wednesday.

Watchstanders contacted the vessel’s owner, who believed the Seafarer became disabled and the vessel’s sister ship, the Captain Alex, reportedly started towing the Seafarer. It was reported that the Captain Alex lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer when weather conditions worsened.

Watchstanders dispatched crews aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Chincoteague and an MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. to the Seafarer’s reported position. Once on scene, the aircrew rescued Small from a life raft and took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md.

Afterwards, the Jayhawk and the MLB crews resumed their search for the Tates until the search was temporarily suspended due to nightfall and adverse weather conditions.

Thursday morning a second Jayhawk crew from the air station resumed the search until 1 p.m., when the case was suspended pending further developments.

“We want to extend our most sincere condolences to the families of the missing crewmembers,” said Thomas Botzenhart, a search and rescue controller at the 5th Coast Guard District command center. “We have expended multiple Coast Guard assets to search for their loved ones. We have searched over 560 square nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern shore of Virginia in an effort to locate and rescue their family members. It is with a great deal of sorrow that we have been unable to locate them at this point of time.”

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