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Coast Guard: Search for missing boater off Glen Cove suspended

Ralph Fletcher III was reported missing on Saturday,

Ralph Fletcher III was reported missing on Saturday, June 3, 2017, near Glen Cove after his boat was found with his belongings and a dog onboard, authorities said. Nassau County police said he was last seen at the Garvies Point Marina and was wearing a swimsuit. Credit: NCPD

Authorities do not expect to resume the search for a boater who went missing Saturday near Glen Cove “unless new information comes to light,” a Coast Guard spokesman said Sunday.

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector New York were notified of a grounded 21-foot boat in Sands Point with a live dog aboard around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a Coast Guard news release. Several personal items belonging to the missing boater, Ralph Fletcher III, 58, also were found aboard, including his cellphone, wallet and keys.

The search was suspended at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard has handed the investigation off to Nassau County police, who did not have further information about 5 p.m. Sunday.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Frank Iannazzo-Simmons said a “concurrent decision” was made to call off the search by the agencies involved. “We searched an area of 225 square nautical miles over a 24-hour period with negative results,” he said.

Nassau County police issued a missing-persons report for Fletcher, noting that he was last seen at the Garvies Point Marina and was wearing a swimsuit. Fletcher launched his boat from the marina, where authorities found his vehicle, Iannazzo-Simmons added.

The boat was found by Sands Point police earlier in the day on Saturday, but the Coast Guard was not notified until later, Iannazzo-Simmons said. He said he did not know what time the vessel was found.

After the discovery, an urgent marine information broadcast was issued by the Coast Guard and a boat was launched to search.

Iannazzo-Simmons said the focus of the search had been Hempstead Bay, and that the general area of the operation was near Glen Cove, around Sands Point and Prospect Point.

“We just exhausted the search area without finding anything,” he said.

The news release said that since Saturday night, in addition to the Coast Guard and Sands Point police, other agencies involved in the search included Nassau police marine and aviation operations, the FDNY and police from Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Westchester, New Rochelle and Sands Point.

By 9 a.m. Sunday, a search had been completed “from City Island to Stamford, Connecticut and both sides of the [Long Island] Sound.”

The search continued Sunday morning, Iannazzo-Simmons said.

“We had one of our boats searching through the night and we did a first-light search with Air Station Cape Cod,” Iannazzo-Simmons said Sunday morning.

Nassau police ask anyone with information about Fletcher to contact Nassau County Missing Persons Squad at 516-573-7347 or call 911. All callers will remain anonymous.

With Stefanie Dazio

An earlier version of this story had an incorrect time. The Coast Guard was notified about the boat at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.


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