Missing boating victims recovered from river

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard and Beaufort County Emergency Management have ended the search for a couple that went missing on the Pamlico River on Friday evening.

Beaufort County Emergency Services Director Carnie Hedgepeth released the following statement on Sunday at 10 a.m.:

“From a request from the NC Wildlife Resource Commission, Beaufort County 911 Communications dispatched the Beaufort County Water Search and Rescue Team and Sidney Volunteer Fire Department at 7:39 p.m. on Friday August 17th for assistance with a search of Pamlico River for two missing boaters.

Water Rescue teams initiated a massive search of the Pamlico River in the Moore Creek and Clair Creek area, and land search in several unpopulated areas of the Pamlico River.  Components of this search continued non-stop until approximately 8:24 a.m. Sunday morning when the second victim was found.

The Beaufort County Water Rescue Team is a cooperative effort between Beaufort County Fire and Rescue departments including Bunyan FD, Bath FD, Aurora Fire Department, Washington F/R, Sidney FD, Sidney Dive Team, Chocowinity Fire & EMS, and Beaufort County Emergency Services.

This operation consisted of the Beaufort County Water Rescue Team in cooperation with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, NC Wildlife Resource Commission, NC Emergency Management, NC Marine Fisheries, US Coast Guard, Township 9 Fire Department, Craven County Emergency Management, Hertford County Emergency Management, Gates County Emergency Management, Salvation Army, and Potter’s Marina.”

According to officials, the couple set out on the boat early afternoon from Potter’s Marine on North Creek, and sighting of their abandoned boat was called in to authorities that evening. The boat was found at the mouth of the creek, near the Pamlico River.

Saturday night, USCG Jayhawk helicopters could be seen scouring the river; Sunday morning, a USCG C130 made several passes up and down the river, continuing the mission to find the couple, said to be a 72-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman.

On Tuesday, the NCWRC identified the victims as Thomas Baker and Sarah Baker.