Search resumes after missing man’s boat found off Wrightsville Beach coast

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The U.S. Coast Guard told WECT on Tuesday that a boat has been found that once had 47-year-old Jeffrey Kale on board.

The search is now beginning again after the USCG initially suspended the search on Monday, April 8.

According to police, Kale went fishing in the Atlantic Ocean on April 6 in his 32-foot Cape Horn Boat with hull number NC4431FA. Kale was last seen around 4 p.m. Saturday near the 55th Street boat ramp in Oak Island, according to USCG Senior Chief Logan Adkisson.

The boat was found 72 nautical miles east offshore of Wrightsville Beach.

The USCG gave the following statement on Monday:

“It is with heavy hearts that we suspend our active search for Mr. Kale,” said Sector North Carolina Deputy Commander Corrie Sergent,. “Our extensive search by air and sea with numerous crews, assets, and several good Samaritans, saturated the various areas we believed he may be. Anytime we conduct a search and rescue it is with the hope of bringing someone back home and safely reuniting them with their family and friends. The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Our thoughts are with the Kale family.”

“Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watch standers received a notification from Kale’s family stating he was overdue from a fishing trip around 10:30 p.m.,” the USCG said in a press release.

Rescue crews searching included:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules airplane
  • Coastal patrol boat USCGC Steelhead (WPB 87324)
  • Coast Guard Station Oak Island 29-foot Response Boat-Small

Crews reportedly searched for nearly 72 hours and covered more than 7,762 square miles.

OIPD provided the following update on Sunday, April 7:

“The Oak Island Police Department is still actively participating in the investigation of missing boater, Jeffrey Kale. We are still assisting the United States Coast Guard with any investigative leads and have been working directly with the family to ensure an efficient transfer of information. The United States Coast Guard is still actively searching fishing grounds and specific areas in the Atlantic Ocean based on previous trips and information from the family. A search grid has been established and the use of marine resources and Coast Guard aircraft are being utilized.”

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