Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater off Oregon Inlet

OREGON INLET, N.C. (WITN) – The Coast Guard says they have suspended the search for a missing boater off of Oregon Inlet on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Coast Guard found 65-year-old Captain Charlie Griffin of Wanchese dead after a boat heading to the Outer Banks was reported as overdue on Sunday.

36-year-old Chad Dunn remained missing Tuesday night when the Coast Guard suspended the search.

Captain Charlie “Griff” Griffin was a former star of the National Geographic television series Wicked Tuna Outer Banks. National Geographic posted the following condolences on the television series’ Facebook page Tuesday evening:

“National Geographic and Pilgrim Media Group were saddened to learn that Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks cast member Captain Charlie “Griff” Griffin passed away this week after a shipwreck unrelated to the series. Charlie was the captain of the fishing vessel Reels of Fortune and appeared on seasons two through five of Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks, fishing side-by-side on the series with his only child, Jake. Charlie was known to all as a spirited fisherman with a big heart. We join Charlie’s family, fellow cast members, and friends in mourning his untimely loss.”

Griffin was a fan favorite and even won the bluefin fishing competition amongst the other captains on the show in season four. While he was on the show, Griffin was known for singing his catchphrase tune “tuna fishing baby – yeah!”

The U.S. Coast Guard says the boat was returning from Virginia Beach to Wanchese when it was reported overdue around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The last communication with the boat was at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday around Nags Head, says the Coast Guard.

Overnight and throughout the day Tuesday, the Coast Guard says crews searched Dunn between Nags Head and Rodanthe.

The Coast Guard said they searched for Dunn by air, boat, as well as on the shoreline.

On Monday, a helicopter from Elizabeth City was able to complete two searches before bad weather came in, while a 47-foot boat from Oregon Inlet was also assisting with the search.

“We searched for 41 hours, conducted 12 search patterns, and covered approximately 400 miles by air, sea and on shore with our local partners to find Chad and bring him home,” said Cmdr. Corrie Sergent, Deputy, Sector North Carolina. “No two cases are ever the same. It is one of the hardest decisions to call off a search, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragic event.”

The Coast Guard also says it recovered the body of Griffin’s dog Leila who was with the men about two miles south of Oregon Inlet, as well as the boat.

Griffin’s body and Leila’s body were found on a beach where they had washed up, officials said, around 9:50 a.m. Monday.

At the time the pair were reported missing, the Coast Guard says that visibility was a little over half a mile, seas at 4-6 feet, and wind 10-15 knots.

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