ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WNCN) — The Coast Guard has suspended its search for two men who went missing after a helicopter went down Monday near the Albemarle Sound.
Over 38 hours, the Coast Guard said it, and assisting agencies, searched 3,303 miles for the men who were in a Robinson R44 helicopter.
The two left Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport near South Hill Virginia on Monday with plans to land at Dare County Regional Airport.
A friend contacted the Coast Guard at 6:40 p.m. Monday to say they lost communication with the two.
The Coast Guard immediately launched an air and surface search for the aircraft.
Tuesday morning, a backpack containing personal belongings was found about 3.5 miles south of the mouth of the Alligator River.
Soon after that discovery, helicopter debris was found in the water approximately 9 miles north of the Alligator River Bridge in the Albemarle Sound.
“Suspending a search is one of the hardest decisions we make in the Coast Guard,” said Cmdr. Corrie Sergent, chief of response for Sector North Carolina. “As a member of this unified response, I think I can safely say that this sentiment is shared by our partner agencies as well. We were able to coordinate a robust search effort by air and on the water with a dedicated team of responders. Our sincere thoughts are with the families of the two men during this incredibly difficult time.”
The Coast Guard-led search included the following assets and agencies:
- A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City
- A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City
- A 29-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City
- N.C. Marine Patrol
- N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
- Tyrell County Sheriff’s Department
- Tyrell County Emergency Management
- Tyrell County Fire Department
- Washington County Emergency Management
- Craven County Emergency Management
- Hertford County Emergency Management
- N.C. State Highway Patrol
- Sydney Fire Department
- Tow Boat U.S. Oregon Inlet