Coast Guard calls off search for missing fisherman

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) - The Coast Guard has called off the search for a fisherman who was expected to return home earlier Thursday but didn't. The decision came late Friday night to call of the search.

The fisherman was believed to be in the area of South Fenwick Island.{}Officials identified the missing man as Maurice Thomas.

"Thissearch and rescue mission has been suspended pending any new information," saidCmdr. Brian LeFebvre, Sector Charleston chief of response. "The decision tosuspend was made after reviewing numerous factors. We take pride in locatingsurvivors and reuniting them with their loved ones. This is why the decision tosuspend is never quickly made, nor is it ever easy for us. We offer ourthoughts and prayers to the family during this difficult time."

According to Coast Guard Sector Charleston officials, Guardsmen received reports around 7:45 p.m. that a missing fisherman had not returned from an oyster trip the day before. The missing fisherman's associate told Guardsmen that the man was expected home Wednesday night after leaving in the afternoon.

The Coast Guard says units from Charleston, Savannah, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources along with the Colleton County Sheriff's Office have been searching for the missing man all day.

SCDNR found the fishing boat in the area of Fish Creek, but the fisherman was nowhere in sight, officials said.

The Coast Guard asks anyone with information regarding this search to please contact Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center at 843-740-7050.