BERLIN, Md. (AP) -- The Coast Guard suspended the search Thursday for two men aboard a distressed fishing boat lost in rough seas.
The Coast Guard says one crew member was rescued after the 67-foot boat Seafarer became disabled 15 miles east of Assateague Island on Wednesday. A sister ship was towing the disabled boat but lost the tow in heavy seas.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, NC found the third man on a life raft and was able to rescue him. He was brought ashore at Chincoteague Memorial Park and taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD for treatment.
WTCI-TV confirmed the missing fishermen are 80-year-old Captain Walter Tate and his nephew Stephen Tate. Morgan Small says that her husband Patrick Small was the third member of the crew and he was the fishermen the Coast Guard rescued from a life raft on Wednesday.
Petty Officer Brandyn Hill said the search had resumed at about 7 a.m. Thursday.
“We want to extend our most sincere condolences to the families of the missing crewmembers,” said Thomas Botzenhart, a search and rescue controller at the 5th Coast Guard District command center. “We have expended multiple Coast Guard assets to search for their loved ones. We have searched over 560 square nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern shore of Virginia in an effort to locate and rescue their family members. It is with a great deal of sorrow that we have been unable to locate them at this point of time.”
Julia Respass of Belhaven said she's losing hoping that her brother and her nephew will be found.
Respass told The Daily Times says two other nephews were lost in 1987 while fishing off the coast of Maryland, another brother died crabbing in North Carolina, and her grandfather and uncle died in the 1920s in a boating accident. Respass says Walter Tate was also rescued after spending more than two days in a life raft with crew members in 1992.