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Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell from fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted at 1:48 PM, Oct 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-20 15:07:57-04

Portsmouth, Va. – The Coast Guard is suspending their search for a man missing from a fishing boat near the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

Watchstanders at Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth were alerted by two crew members aboard a 31-foot fishing vessel that the captain of the vessel was believed to have fallen overboard while they were sleeping between 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

The vessel was anchored just south of Fisherman’s Island and east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The man has been identified as 50-year-old Richard Nee.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RBM) crew left Station Cape Charles, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew flew from Air Station Elizabeth City, and the Portsmouth-based crew of Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater headed to search for Nee early Sunday morning.

Crews searched for Nee for around 55 hours and covered over 700 miles.

The search involved a 45-foot RBM crew from Station Little Creek, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and the crew of the Shearwater along with crews with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia Port Authority Maritime Incident Response Team, among others.

“Making the very difficult decision to suspend a search is never easy,” said Captain Christopher Keane, commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Mr. Richard Nee during this most difficult time.”