Coast Guard ends search for possible people in the water from empty boat

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard crews have ended their active search Saturday afternoon for possible people in the water in Cleveland Harbor, finding no signs that anyone was actually injured or in distress after a 27-foot sport boat was found empty on the rocks by Burke Lakefront Airport Friday evening.

The Coast Guard suspended the search at 1:20 p.m., after a dive team from the Cleveland Fire Department found nothing during dive and side-scan sonar operations.

A rescue boatcrew, aboard a Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, completed its last search pattern at 10:43 a.m.

All active search efforts by Coast Guard boat and helicopter crews yielded negative results, and there has been no correlating missing persons report.

The Coast Guard suspends a search and rescue case with extremely great care and deliberation. Only after a probable search area is saturated with the appropriate assets and resources, and persons in distress are still not located, a decision is made to suspend a case.

The vessel remains partially submerged inside the breakwall near the airport in downtown Cleveland. It is not currently leaking any fuel or other hazardous material, but personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Cleveland will continue to monitor the vessel.

Authorities have made contact with the boat’s owner, James Scott Mol, of Independence, Ohio, concerning his claim that the vessel must have been stolen after he left it moored at Lakeside Yacht Club Saturday at 2 p.m. He has also been directed to coordinate the professional salvage of the vessel to ensure it does not pose a threat to the environment or safe navigation of the waterway.

Investigators from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are leading the investigation, with agents from Coast Guard Investigative Service assisting as needed.

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