Coast Guard suspends search for 59-year-old dentist

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a 59-year-old dentist from Gary, Ind., Saturday, at approximately 12 a.m. after he became overdue from a sailing trip offshore Miller Beach, Ind.

The Coast Guard, the Canadian Air Force and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources searched an area of approxiamtely 500 square miles in southern Lake Michigan for more than 30 hours with negative sightings to locate and rescue Steven Banks.

HH-65C rescue helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., Air Facilities Muskegon, Mich. and Waukegan, Ill. and an HU-25 Guardian jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. conducted extensive aerial searches with the assistance of a Canadian Air Force HC-130 aircraft.

In addition, several 47-foot motor lifeboat MLB crews from Coast Guard Stations Michigan City, Ind., Calumet Harbor, Ill., Wilmette Harbor, Ill. and St. Joseph, Mich. performed parallel search patterns several miles offshore Miller Beach; parallel patterns are used for very large search areas, so that uniform coverage is preferred to increase the chances of locating the person in distress.

“The Coast Guard family has a heavy heart today with the suspension of this search,” said Lt. David French, Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Officer. “Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Dr. Banks.”

Banks’ wife notifed the Coast Guard Thursday when her husband did not return to work from a sailing trip in a 12-foot Crane a few miles offshore Miller Beach.

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 of assets, resources and crew effort, and a person in distress is still not located, a decision is made to suspend a case. However, the Coast Guard can resume a search if credible information is received that a person reported missing has survived.

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