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Stormy NC coast hinders search for 2 Gaston County men lost at sea

This is the boat the two men were in when they went missing, says the Coast Guard.
This is the boat the two men were in when they went missing, says the Coast Guard.

Two fishermen reported missing since Sunday off the North Carolina coast have been identified as Gastonia residents by the Wilmington Star News.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been racing against the ongoing tropical storm to find Steve Chaney and David Hambrick.

Search patterns has been suspended temporarily because of the harsh weather, Coast Guard officials told The Charlotte Observer midday Tuesday.

The men got underway aboard a 22-foot fishing boat at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday from the South Harbor Boat Ramp in Oak Island, Coast Guard officials said in a press release. The wife of one of the men called for help after they did not return by dark, as expected.

Coast Guard authorities told the Wilmington Star News that they found a truck and boat trailer belonging to one of the men parked in the ramp lot.

“We are battling severe search conditions due to the approaching tropical system with rough seas and strong winds,” said a statement from Chief Warrant Officer Keith Moore, the command duty officer at Coast Guard’s North Carolina Sector. “Our crews are trying every possible means to locate these fishermen before weather conditions worsen.”

Initial reports said the men were from Oak Island.

The Gaston Gazette also reported Tuesday that the men are from Gaston County.

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