FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Authorities say a search and rescue mission for a missing kayaker has now moved into a recovery mission.
Coast Guard officials announced Monday afternoon that crews were suspending their search for 22-year-old Dean Britt pending any new developments.
The kayak belonging to Britt was found Sunday about two miles from the spot where a second missing kayaker, 21-year-old Logan Brown, was found alive off the coast of Kiawah Island, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Shannon Scaff said.
Coast Guard search efforts covered more than 2,800 square miles in cooperation with more than 15 state and local agencies.
"Suspending a search is never an easy decision to make," said Capt. Gary Tomasulo, commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. "We will stand by the family during this difficult time and offer them any support we can. I'd also like the public to understand that anytime we undertake a search it is always a collective effort of federal, state, and local partners working together."
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Shortly before 5:30 p.m., Charleston County Sheriff's Office marine deputies were assisting the Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources when they were alerted by a DNR air support unit that Brown had been spotted, according to Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson. Brown was clinging to a waterlogged kayak a few miles from land and was taken aboard a sheriff's office vessel, Watson said.
Brown was then transported to MUSC to be evaluated further, deputies say.
The kayakers originally went missing in the area between Folly Island and Morris Island Lighthouse South Carolina after they left Folly Beach around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon with plans to kayak to Morris Island Lighthouse. Both had been expected back before sunset.
A friend of the kayakers notified watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center they had not returned around 9:40 p.m. Saturday.
As of Sunday night, crews had covered approximately 1,337 square miles in their search for Britt. Crews are searching an area extending from Folly Beach to the south side of Seabrook Island, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto. Crews were scheduled to continue searching into Monday morning, he said.
Two C-130 Hercules airplanes from Air Station Clearwater, two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Savannah and multiple response board from Cost Guard Station Charleston, as well as the crew aboard Cutter Yellowfin, have been involved in the search.
The search is ongoing and a command post has been set up by the lighthouse where the kayakers' cars were located.
Anyone with information that can assist search crews is asked to call the Sector Charleston Command Center at (843) 740-7050.