MISSING MAN: Search begins for Beaufort County crabber

Published 6:55 pm Monday, October 5, 2015

AURORA — The search for a Beaufort County man began yesterday after a boat was found drifting near Aurora.

According to Chris Martinez, chief operations specialist with U.S. Coast Guard: Sector North Carolina in Wilmington, the search for Pamlico Beach resident Michael Hopkins, believed to be about 53 years old, began at noon after a “good Samaritan” reported a 23-foot recreation boat adrift near Hickory Beach, northeast of Aurora.

Coast Guard officials boarded the boat and found a life jacket, gas cans, live crabs and a dog, Martinez said.

According to John Pack, Beaufort County Emergency Management director, officials were told by friends of Hopkins that he never went anywhere without the dog.

“So far we have not been able to recover the body of the missing crabber,” Pack said.

Martinez said Coast Guard personnel are actively searching for Hopkins with a 45-foot response boat and a helicopter. Also aiding in the search are Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department and Bath Volunteer Fire Department.

“We believe (Hopkins) was alone aboard the vessel as he was crab fishing,” Martinez said. “We don’t know the circumstances of how he came loose from the boat. We’re in the searching phases, and we’re running down any possible leads we can come up with. We’re hoping any facts we have can help us lead to where he’s at.”


If you have information as to the whereabouts of missing crabber Michael Hopkins, please call the U.S. Coast Guard Station Hobucken at 252-745-3131 or the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office at 252-946-7111.