Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater; Griffin and dog found deceased

Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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The U.S. Coast Guard 5TH District Mid-Atlantic reported late Tuesday night it suspended the search for a missing boater off the coast of Oregon Inlet at approximately 6:34 p.m. on March 5, 2024. The body of another missing boater and a dog had already been recovered.

Still missing is 36-year-old Chad Dunn. Capt. Charlie Griffin, 65, and his pet dog Leila were both found deceased.

“It is with the deepest sadness we report that Charlie Griffin and his beloved dog, Leila, have passed away in a boating accident today, March 4th,” stated a Monday post on the Reels of Fortune Wicked Tuna Facebook page. “Please keep family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. We will forever remember Griff!”

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Watchstanders with the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center received a report of two overdue boaters on Sunday, March 3 at approximately 11:35 p.m. Griffin and Dunn departed from Virginia Beach and were enroute to Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo for repairs, according to information from the Coast Guard.

“We searched for 41 hours, conducted 12 search patterns, and covered approximately 400 miles by air, sea and on shore with our local partners to find Chad and bring him home,” said Cmdr. Corrie Sergent, deputy, Sector North Carolina. “No two cases are ever the same. It is one of the hardest decisions to call off a search, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragic event.”

At the time Griffin and Dunn were reported missing, the visibility was a little over half a mile, seas at 4-6 feet and wind 10-15 knots, stated the Coast Guard.

Crews involved in the search included Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet, Coast Guard Cutter Steelhead, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, National Park Service, NC Fish and wildlife and Dare County Sheriff’s Office. North Carolina Fish and Wildlife is conducting an investigation into the incident.