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Coast Guard suspends search for 2nd boater

1 of 2 boaters rescued Sunday about 12 miles east of Altamaha Sound


ALTAMAHA SOUND, Ga. – The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday night for one of two missing Georgia boaters who disappeared Sunday about 12 miles east of Altamaha Sound.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said crews had searched nearly 4,586 square nautical miles over a period of 56 hours. 

"Suspending a search is never a decision that comes easily or that I take lightly," said Capt. Gary Tomasulo, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. "We stand by and support the family and offer our support in this time of need. I’d like to thank our local partners whose dedication and cooperation were much appreciated in our joint effort."

The Coast Guard released video of the first man's rescue Monday. 

A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah helicopter crew spotted Cliff Morgan, one of the two brothers, clinging to the overturned 19-foot white center console pleasure craft after having been missing for 12 hours.

The crew deployed a rescue swimmer and hoisted Cliff Morgan at approximately 2:20 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to shore and transferred to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia, authorities said. 

The Coast Guard was notified of the situation by Charles Morgan's girlfriend at 10:10 a.m. The initial report stated Morgan and his older brother, Charles Morgan, 61, had departed at 7 a.m. Saturday and were due to return in the evening.

Charles Morgan's girlfriend said when they didn't come back she became worried and contacted crews for help.

Members of the local police department and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources arrived at the launch point and reported the men's truck and trailer were still there.

Before suspending the search, the Coast Guard said it had expanded its search Monday for Charles Morgan to St. Simon's Island, calling it a search-and-rescue effort.

“Any time the Coast Guard is doing a search-and-rescue case, we are re-evaluating information, which includes which way the current is drifting. That is one of the big factors to help determine where to send the equipment,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto said.

A crews aboard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Savannah, Station Brunswick Island boat crews, crews on Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin and C-130s from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and Air Station Elisabeth City were all involved in the search. 

Other agencies involved in the search included members of the Georgia DNR and McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Coast Guard said it's unclear if the men were wearing life vests at the time of the incident..


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