Co-worker recovers crabber’s body from west shore of Durham Creek

Published 1:13 am Sunday, September 28, 2008

By Staff
Weather had delayed search
Staff Writer
The body of a crabber who drowned in Durham Creek was found Friday evening by the man who lent him his boat, authorities said.
Donald Edgar Rankin Jr., 55, of N.C. Highway 99 in Bath, borrowed a boat to check crab pots near the Pamlico River’s south shore Tuesday morning. His boat was found empty about noon that day at the mouth of Durham Creek.
The two were searching in the boat from which Rankin was lost, Watson said.
A number of rescue agencies searched Tuesday for Rankin using aircraft and side-scanning sonar, but were forced to shore when winds kicked up, increasing wave size.
The civilians coordinated with the official search when authorities were on the water, but kept looking whenever they could during the rough weather, Watson said.
Friday, after the weather had broken, the civilian searchers were again coordinating with officials, Watson said.
Bath Fire Department, the sheriff’s office and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries were also searching, Watson said.
The Bath Fire Department went in for the day at 5 p.m., Taylor said, but was called back out two hours later after Rankin was found.
The department used a member’s personal boat to transport Rankin’s body from the west shore of Durham Creek to a dock, he said.
The sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate Rankin’s death in conjunction with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Watson said.