Search resumes for boater missing near HRBT

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WVEC.com

Posted on June 6, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 6 at 11:19 AM

NORFOLK -  Virginia Marine Police are searching for a 55-year-old man who went missing from his boat on Saturday.

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday for Jeff Harwood,  but the search by Marine Police and Norfolk Police started up early Monday.

Kay Hardwood says her husband left the Chesapeake Marina on a boat to meet friends in Virginia Beach Saturday morning, but he never showed up.

"He's been on a sailboat during hurricanes and storms, and yesterday on the prettiest day something happens,"  she says.

The Coast Guard found his 28-foot boat with the rope caught in the engine. after it was found adrift near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel in the vicinity of Willoughby Bay around 7:30 a.m.

The search area Monday was from the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel toward the Port. Va. Marine Resources Commission spokesman John Bull told WVEC.com.

He said crews are in the Va. Marine plane and boats with side-imaging sonar.

Harwood apparently wasn't wearing a life jacket, but his wife said he knew how to swim. 

Harwood has been sailing for 25 years.  He is also the father of six children.  One of them will be graduating from High school next week.

Crews from several agencies searched for about 16.5 hours in an area of approximately 465 miles.

The Coast Guard says Harwood had filed a float plan and intended to sail from Western Branch Diesel and arrive at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday.

"We’ll keep at the search all day, every day, until we find him, " Bull stated.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at 757-638-6637.

Harwood is in his mid-50s with dark hair and beard, is about 5'10" tall and weighs 190-200 pounds.

Officials searching for Harwood Sunday were Coast Guard crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., Coast Guard Cutter Ibis, and from Coast Guard station Portsmouth. Members of the Virginia Marine Police, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Portsmouth Fire Department, Newport News Fire Department, Norfolk Police Department, Hampton Fire Department and the Navy Sewell's Point Harbor Patrol also were involved.

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