Coast Guard suspends search for overdue boaters

Halloween HelicopterMYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Coast Guard suspended its search for two overdue boaters off the coast of Myrtle Beach at approximately 7:30 p.m., Sunday.

Joseph McFadden, 77 years old, and Michael Lawrence, 61 years old, have been missing since Wednesday evening.

Coast Guard crews searched 11,655 square miles and conducted 50 search patterns over a period of more than three days.

“Suspending a search is a truly difficult decision,” said Capt. Gary Tomasulo, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “We pride ourselves in rescuing survivors to reunite them with their loved ones. We take into account various different factors when making this decision, so it is never one that is made easily. Our search is suspended, pending any new and reliable information. We understand this is a difficult time for the families and we offer our thoughts and prayers to them.”

Crewmembers aboard various assets from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston, S.C., Air Station Savannah, Ga., Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., participated in the search. Crews from Coast Guard Station Georgetown, S.C, Station Charleston, and the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin were involved in the search. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also contributed an airplane in the search.

Other agencies that have been involved in the search include crews from the North Charleston Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch first notified the Coast Guard Sector Charleston’s command center of the overdue boaters Thursday morning. The missing boaters had reportedly departed on a fishing trip, in the vicinity of the Charleston Jetties, Wednesday morning and were scheduled to return Wednesday evening. By Thursday the pair was overdue and their truck and trailer were found still parked at the pier at Remleys Point, S.C.

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