Coast Guard suspends search for missing fisherman near Morehead City, NC

Mid Atlantic Coast Guard NewsPORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard  has suspended their search Tuesday for a missing 57-year-old man who was last seen going underwater and not resurfacing while he was surf fishing on the south end of Portsmouth Island near Morehead City, N.C., Monday.

Missing is Bill Vestal, 57.

A crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., conducted a morning search Tuesday, meanwhile, North Carolina National Park Service personnel conducted a shoreline search.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Vestal’s family,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cummins, the acting commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions we have to make.”

The Coast Guard searched for approximately five hours, traveling 126 nautical miles covering 35 square nautical miles looking for Vestal.

Carteret County 911 dispatch personnel contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders via phone at approximately 5:15 p.m. Monday reporting Vestal went underwater while fishing and did not resurface.

Sector North Carolina watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched crews aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, N.C., and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City.

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