Search Suspended for Missing Maine Lobsterman

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – The Coast Guard suspended its search at about 6 p.m., today for a Maine lobsterman last seen about noon Monday in a 21-foot skiff near Zephyr Ledges, Maine.

Chris Whittaker, 24, left Matinicus Island, Maine, at about 8:45 Monday morning and was expected to return by 2 p.m. His sister contacted Coast Guard Station Rockland, Maine, at 3:30 p.m., concerned because he had not arrived.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Whittaker’s family and friends,” said Capt. James McPherson, commander of Sector Northern New England.

Responders searched for 28 hours and covered more than 100 square miles using a 47-foot rescue boat from Station Rockland; the Coast Guard Cutters Moray and Jefferson Island; a Falcon jet and a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.; a Navy plane from Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine; two Maine Marine Patrol boats using side-scan sonar, and about 20 local lobstermen.

“It’s always heart-breaking when we have to suspend a search,” said McPherson. “We realize this is an extremely difficult time for the community, but the local support was a real asset in this case, and we appreciate all of the time and effort of those who helped.”

Editors’ Note: Chris Whittaker’s last name was spelled incorrectly in the initial story. The correct spelling is Whittaker.

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