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Coast Guard searching for missing boater in Lake Erie near Vermilion

September 1, 2018

Coast Guard searching for missing boater in Lake Erie near Vermilion

VERMILION, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies are searching for a missing boater on Lake Erie near Vermilion.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office discovered an unmanned boat washed up on the shore of Lake Erie near Cranberry Creek at about 9 p.m. Friday.

The 23-foot Sea Ray showed signs of recent occupancy, authorities said. Crews from the Coast Guard, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Huron police and fire boarded the boat and saw a cellphone, wallet and handheld GPS, which was still operating. 

The man used his cellphone at about 1 p.m. Friday to call his wife. He told her that the fish weren’t biting, but he was going to stay out a while longer. 

Paperwork on the boat showed that it was co-owned by the missing man and a friend, who said the man liked to fish about one or two miles offshore, and then drift about one mile east or west of Vermilion. He said they would normally fish off the stern of the boat.

Lake Erie waves on Friday afternoon were reported to be about 4 or 5 feet and the water temperature was about 75 degrees - warm water, relatively speaking, according to Coast Guard Ensign Justin Bommer. 

The missing boater is a 66-year-old white man, 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds. He was last known to be wearing a t-shirt and shorts. 

In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard, ODNR, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Huron police and fire, the Canadian Coast Guard also has joined the search with a fixed-wing C-130 aircraft. 

“We searched all through the night, and the search is still continuing,” Bommer said.

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