Search ends for missing boater on Lake Ontario

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CLEVELAND — Rescue personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard ended their active search on Lake Ontario Friday night for a man reported missing Thursday.

Missing is John Suppel of Lewiston, New York, who launched out of Wilson Tuscarora State Park in Wilson, New York, aboard a 16-foot camouflage pleasure craft.

Responders searched more than 5,000 square miles over a 49-hour period.

The coordinated search effort included personnel and assets from units within multiple agencies including: Coast Guard Stations Niagara and Rochester; Coast Guard Air Stations Detroit and Cape Cod; Canadian Coast Guard Station Port Weller; Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario; Customs and Border Protection; Toronto Marine Police; Wilson, Olcott and Lewiston Counties, and Niagara Sheriff’s Office.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, were notified by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office at 9:45 a.m., Thursday after Suppel was reported overdue. He was last heard from Wednesday afternoon.

Only after a probable search area is saturated with the appropriate assets and resources, and persons lost or in distress are still not located, is a decision made to suspend a case.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Joseph Higgins, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo deputy commander.

“The decision to suspend a search takes extreme consideration and is one of the most difficult decisions a Coast Guardsman is ever faced with.”

Anyone that may have information that could aid in the search is asked to call 716-843-9527.

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