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Coast Guard Suspends Search For Captain, Tow Boat Missing Off South Jersey Coast

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(The Sea Tow boat Cape Hatteras, in file photo.)

(The Sea Tow boat Cape Hatteras, in file photo.)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., (CBS)  – The Coast Guard has suspended it search for 32-year-old David McAuliffe, who went missing Tuesday morning aboard a commercial tow boat off the coast of South Jersey (see related story).

The Coast Guard resumed its search by sea and air on Wednesday (see related story).  Crews searched more than 400 square miles, for a total of 65 hours.

“We are deeply saddened by the difficult decision to suspend our search efforts for Captain David McAuliffe,” said Captain Kathy Moore, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in a statement released Wednesday.  “This is a man who made a career of helping others on the water, often placing himself in harm’s way to do so. Our deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and fellow mariners.”

The search began at about 11 a.m. Tuesday after the Coast Guard received a distress alert from 45-foot Sea Tow boat Cape Hatteras.  Officials say there was no response to cell phone or radio calls.

The boat’s owner says Cape Hatteras departed Absecon Inlet at approximately 7:45 a.m. en route to Great Egg Harbor.

Five MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, four 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crews from Coast Guard Station Cape May, two 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, and the crew aboard the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Finback assisted in the search for McAuliffe.

The New Jersey State Police Department, local police department members, Sea Tow boat crews, and good Samaritans also helped in the search.

It was reported that Cape Hatteras had survival equipment aboard, including two survival suits and two life rafts.

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