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Coast Guard suspends search for missing Morehead City man

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MOREHEAD CITY, NC (WWAY) -- The United States Coast Guard has suspended its search for a missing fisherman near Morehead City.

57-year-old Bill Vestal was last seen going underwater and not resurfacing while he was surf fishing on the south end of Portsmouth Island near Morehead City.

A crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City conducted a morning search Tuesday, while North Carolina National Park Service personnel conducted a shoreline search.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Vestal's family," said Cmdr. Timothy Cummins, the acting commander of Sector North Carolina. "Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions we have to make."

The Coast Guard searched for approximately five hours, traveling 126 nautical miles covering 35 square nautical miles looking for Vestal.

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