© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
South Carolina Public Radio's offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Our local news and programming will return Tuesday, May 28.

US Coast Guard suspends search for South Carolina expert fisherman

The United States Coast Guard has suspended its search for a missing York County man.

Officials announced rescuers have stopped their search for missing 47-year-old Jeffrey Kale.

Oak Island police said Monday they were helping the U.S. Coast Guard in the search for Kale, who is from Clover, SC, just south of Charlotte, NC.

Oak Island police said Kale is an expert fisherman, was last seen April 6th around 4 pm, heading on a fishing trip in his 32-foot Cape Horn, a boat designed specifically for fishing.

Divers with the Coast Guard searched the Atlantic Ocean between Blackjack and Steeples while Oak Island Police said they were looking where he’s fished before.

Officers added Kale was well equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), satellite phone, and various navigation tools, but detectives have yet to make contact with him.

Around 8:30 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard announced it was suspending its search for Kale.

“It is with heavy hearts that we suspend our active search for Mr. Kale,” said Sector North Carolina Deputy Commander Corrie Sergent. “Our extensive search by air and sea with numerous crews, assets, and several good Samaritans, saturated the various areas we believed he may be. Any time we conduct a search and rescue, it is with the hope of bringing someone back home and safely reuniting them with their family and friends. The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Our thoughts are with the Kale family.”

The Coast Guard used a Hercules airplane, patrol boats, and multiple small response boats to find Kale. US Coast Guards add the rescue situation was aided with the help of multiple good Samaritan boaters.

In an interview with Charlotte news outlet WSOC, Deanna Kale, Jeffrey’s wife, detailed her last conversation with him before he was reported missing.

“The last time I talked to him was at 3:43 p.m. [Saturday], and that’s the last time I heard from him,” she said. “It was on the phone, he said he loved us.”

Kale was on a spring break vacation with his family and when he decided on a las minute fishing trip.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson said they have been investigating Kale’s disappearance since it was reported.

“About 4:19, that’s’ when our cellphone forensics have the last ping on his cellphone,” Lt. Commander Mike Wu said. “At that point, his cellphone was about a mile southwest of Baldhead Island, heading offshore.”

Kale’s boat is equipped with something called an EPIRB; a distress beacon for boats. The boater can turn it on when in trouble. It can also activate if it falls into the water.

Marcus Flowers is an award-winning content producer who specializes in various topics.