Sunday, June 16, 2024

USCG calls off search for missing boater in James City County

USCG MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter (Wikipedia)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — On Tuesday, May 4, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) called off its search for a missing boater.

This past Sunday, Russell Hines, a 34-year-old Surry resident, left in his boat to meet with friends at the Surry Seafood Company, which is situated along Chickahominy River, but he never arrived .

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Virginia were notified by Williamsburg-James City County Sheriff’s Office that Hines’ 29-foot boat was discovered aground in the vicinity of Gray’s Creek near Williamsburg. The boat’s engine was still running, but shifted into neutral. Hines was nowhere in sight.

A 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth was dispatched to the scene. Additionally, the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin, an 87-foot patrol boat, reported to aid in the search for Hines. An MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. to search from the air.

James City County (JCC) Fire Department, JCC Police Department, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, West Point Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County Fire Department, and Newport News Fire Department also responded to aid in the search for Hines.

In total, 234 square miles were searched, using 45 asset hours. Hines was never found. As of Monday evening, the searchers switched gears from a rescue to a recovery effort. However, USCG has since suspended its search for Hines on Tuesday.

“We grieve with Mr. Hines’s loved ones and offer them our deepest condolences,” said Cmdr. Jason Ingram, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “Thank you to all of our crew members and local partner agencies for your efforts.”

Cmdr. Ingram also reminded boaters to use available safety measures while on the water including engine disabling switches, life jackets, locator beacons, and float plans.

Surry Seafood Company has since released a statement on its Facebook page that says, “First and foremost our thoughts and prayers go out to Russell Hines and his family. We pray that you are found safe and sound. Anyone that is joining in the search, Melissa Rollins, the County Administrator [for Surry County], has given permission for us to offer complimentary dockage for any and all vessels. Just message Brian or Randy Pack on here [the restaurant’s Facebook page] and let us know if you need dockage.”

Hines is described as a white male, approximately 6’0″ in height, weighing around 180 lbs. He has blue eyes, brown hair, and is listed as having scars on both his back and side.

If you have any information, please reach out to your local police department.



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