Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater in Glynn Co. - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater in Glynn Co.

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
GLYNN CO., GA (WTOC) -

#Update: The U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday night that as of 8 p.m., it has suspended the search for missing boater, 61-year-old Charles Morgan. 

Coast Guard crews have searched for Morgan since Sunday morning, covering nearly 4,586 square nautical miles over a period of 56 hours.

The Commander for Coast Guard Sector Charleston says suspending a search is never a final decision, and they are offering support to the Morgan family during this difficult time.

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Original story, posted Monday, May 16:

The search for missing boater, 61-year-old Charles Morgan, continues off the coast of St. Simons and Sapelo Island.

A shrimp boat may have been what caused a fishing boat to capsize, sending two fisherman overboard. That's according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Coast Guard officials say Morgan and his brother launched their fishing boat early Saturday morning from the Champney Boat Ramp in Brunswick. When they never returned, crews began searching and rescued one of the men on Sunday.

The Coast Guard deployed their MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Hunter Army Airfield. They had a team out there all day on Sunday and Monday.

During the search Sunday, the Coast Guard found one of the boaters clinging to their overturned vessel near the Altamaha Sound.

Crews were able to hoist Cliff Morgan to safety. Officials say he was sunburned and was suffering from hypothermia. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Now crews are still busy searching a 23 mile radius for Charles and because of that, we were only able to talk to officials over the phone. They say the boat flipped so fast, the two men had no time to put on a life jackets.

"Unfortunately, their life jackets were trapped underneath the boat after it had capsized and with fuel in the water and debris from the vessel. They weren't able to safely get underneath and recover their life jackets,” said CDR. John Williams, USCG.

He was taken to the airport on St. Simons where EMS crews were waiting to treat him.

Jacob Levin saw Cliff get out of the helicopter.

“He had a blanket on and he looked like he had been in the water,” Levin said.

Officials say he was sun burnt and dehydrated but will make a full recovery. Morgan was also able to explain that he and his brother had shut off the engine to fish, but the boat managed to flipped when it was clipped by the arm of a passing shrimp boat.

"And those stabilizers stick out quite a ways on the side of the boat, and those stabilizers had clipped the top of the boat and flipped completely over and threw the two gentleman in the water,” said Williams.

It's unclear whether or not the shrimp boat was aware of what happened because it kept going. The Coast Guard is trying to locate the shrimp boat but their priority right now is finding Charles.

For more than 24 hours, it's been all hands on deck between the Coast Guard and the DNR searching a 23 mile radius off the coast of St. Simons Island. These last couple of hours of daylight are critical because if they don't find him on Monday, their search Tuesday will become a recovery mission.

"Based on the sea water temperature and the gentleman's age, we know that he can survive until tomorrow morning,” said Williams.

There were life vests in the boat but officials said neither one was wearing a vest nor had time to put one on.

Of course we'll continue to follow this and keep you updated.

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