U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for missing boaters

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) – The U.S. Coast Guard has announced it has suspended the search for three missing boaters from the Florence County area Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the three missing boaters are 67-year-old Jim Sanders, 44-year-old Steve Sanders and 34-year-old Andy Murray.

DNR said the three are from the Florence County area and go fishing often.

The three were said to have departed from the South Island Ferry Landing near Georgetown Thursday morning and planned to return before sunset. Officials searched throughout Thursday evening with no luck.

During the search Friday, officials were forced to remove their boats from the water because conditions became too rough.

They were back out on Saturday in full force with four aircraft and five boats in the water to continue the search.

Now, they have suspended their search.

"After searching extensively for six days, we are confident that we have exhausted all reasonable search efforts to find the missing men," Capt. Peter Brown, Coast Guard District Seven chief of response said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sanders and Murray families during this difficult time."

The Coast Guard said multiple agencies searched for approximately 172 hours and covered around 43,000 square miles, which is an area about the same size as the State of Virginia.

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