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With boaters still missing off N.C. island, Coast Guard suspends search

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for David Hambrick and Steve Chaney.
The Coast Guard has suspended its search for David Hambrick and Steve Chaney. U.S. Coast Guard

Six days after two boaters went missing near Oak Island, N.C., the Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday evening.

The missing boat was found Friday near Murrells Inlet, S.C. – but the boaters, Steve Chaney of the Belmont area and David Hambrick of Stanley, weren’t there.

The Navy, Coast Guard and other agencies spent 247 hours searching 33,154 miles off the coast of the Carolinas without finding the men, a Coast Guard press release said Sunday.

Chaney and Hambrick left the South Harbor Boat Ramp in Oak Island at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday in a 22-foot fishing boat, the Coast Guard said.

One of Hambrick’s friends started a GoFundMe to pay for fuel and towing costs for boats privately searching for the men. It had raised nearly $14,500 of its $20,000 goal Sunday.

Rear Adm. Meredith Austin, commander of the 5th Coast Guard District, said the decision to stop searching was difficult.

“We have been in close contact with the families, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” Austin said.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester

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