Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker in Gulf of Mexico

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing kayaker in the Gulf of Mexico near Grand Isle, Friday.

Missing is Eric Richards, 32.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report that Richards was overdue on a kayak fishing trip. Richards had set out on his fishing trip Monday morning. When Richards did not show up for work Tuesday, a coworker went to the Bridgeside Boat Launch in Grand Isle, where he found Richards’ vehicle still at the launch.

“Coast Guard air and surface assets from two districts searched more than 3,000 square miles, spot checked more than 100 offshore rigs and aids to navigation markers for more than 89 hours with no signs of the missing kayaker,” said Lt. Matt Kor. “After a detailed review of the case, senior Coast Guard staff suspended active search efforts.”

Since the search commenced Tuesday evening, the Coast Guard has searched a 3,491 square-mile area with the following assets:

  • Two MH-65C Dolphin helicopters and crews from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans
  • Two HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft and crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala.
  • An HC-130 Hercules aircraft and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • A 45-foot Response Boat — Medium and crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Isle
  • A 24-foot Special Purpose Craft — Shallow Water and crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Isle
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon and crew
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Pelican and crew


The Coast Guard suspends a search and rescue case with extremely great care and deliberation. After a probable search area is saturated several times with a maximum number of assets, resources and crew effort, and persons in distress are still not located, a decision is made to suspend a case.

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