The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday suspended its search for a 34-year-old tow boat operator who went missing Tuesday morning near Great Egg Harbor.
The Coast Guard says David McAuliffe was in a 45-foot boat that departed Absecon Inlet around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. The boat was headed to Great Egg Harbor when Coast Guard watchstanders received an alert three hours later that there might be an issue on the boat.
The Coast Guard said the operator aboard did not respond to cell phone or radio calls.
"We are deeply saddened by the difficult decision to suspend our search efforts for Capt. David McAuliffe," Capt. Kathy Moore, commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, said in a statement.
"This is a man who made a career of helping others on the water, often placing himself in harm's way to do so. Our deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and fellow mariners."
More than 400 square miles were searched from the air and the water from Tuesday afternoon to late into the evening, the Coast Guard said. The search included local police departments, boat crews, Good Samaritans and New Jersey State Police troopers, in addition to the Coast Guard.