Coroner identifies missing boater found off Edisto River

Published: Mar. 31, 2014 at 1:42 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2014 at 10:49 PM EDT
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The Charleston County Coroner's Office has identified a missing boater who was found Monday morning off the Edisto River.

Authorities say 28-year-old Michael Royston from Edisto Island died early Monday morning, with his cause of death pending. Another boater, Amelia Claytor, has been hospitalized.

Deputies say the US Coast Guard found the missing boaters near the north end of the Edisto River Monday around 7:15 a.m. Officials say Royston was confirmed dead on the scene, while Claytor was air lifted to a hospital to receive treatment for water related injuries. Coast Guard officials say Claytor was suffering symptoms of hypothermia when she was rescued.

Officials with the Coast Guard say Royston and Claytor were located by Station Charleston crewmembers aboard a 29-foot rescue boat at approximately 7 a.m., near Leadenwah Creek. A Coast Guard report states the crew spotted Claytor waving her arms to flag down the boat crew.

Claytor reported Royston had been unresponsive for more than two hours and that she had performed CPR on him prior to the Coast Guard crew's arrival.

"Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with the family and friends of Mr. Royston. We are deeply saddened by his loss,” said Lt. Cmdr. Derek Beatty, the Sector Charleston command center search and rescue mission coordinator.

Officials say Claytor and Royston left Steam Boat Landing on Saturday around 8:30 p.m. in a 14 to 16-foot fishing boat. The two were reported missing on Sunday around 4:18 p.m. after Claytor failed to show up for work for her scheduled shift Sunday.

Police say Royston's employer told them he had been told the pair had mentioned plans to go out on the boat Saturday night. That tip led investigators to Steam Boat Landing, the report states, where they discovered Royston's vehicle with a boat trailer attached to it and launched a search effort.

Coast Guard officials initially reported Monday morning that both boaters had been rescued and were okay. Later in the morning, Eric Watson with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office reported the coroner had been called to the scene.

Local Department of Natural Resource officials and Charleston County authorities are investigating.

The Coast Guard, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Natural Resources and Charleston County Rescue were all involved in the search.

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