Coast Guard Ends Search for Missing Boater off Sakonnet, RI

Coast Guard Ends Search for Missing Boater off Sakonnet, RI

The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing man in Rhode Island Sound on Friday, Oct. 3., at about 6:30 p.m. 

Numerous federal, state and local responders conducted an 18-hour land, sea, and air search that spanned 1,154 miles, but did not locate him.

The search began when Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England received a call at about 9:45 p.m. on Thursday from a family member reporting that the 3 men were overdue from a day trip, which they had made in a 17’ boat. Coast Guard First District Command Center launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod, Sector Southeastern New England dispatched a 45’ Response Boat crew from Station Castle Hill, the Coast Guard Cutter Hammerhead crew diverted to the search area, and several local agencies responded. 

Middletown Fire Department arrived on scene and recovered the first man, who managed to swim to Sakonnet Lighthouse. The Jayhawk aircrew located and hoisted a second man who was found clinging to a lobster-pot buoy about 1 mile south of the lighthouse.

It was reported that the 3rd man was last seen drifting away from the same area. 

The 2 survivors said their engine failed and that the vessel was overcome with water and sank. The boat was last reported to be submerged and still adrift in search area. The 2 survivors stated that they, as well as the missing man, were wearing lifejackets before the boat sank. A lifejacket thought to belong to the missing man was found in the search area, but search crews found no other signs of him.

The weather on scene was 13-knot winds with 2’ seas. The air temperature was 56 degrees, the water was 63 degrees.