OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- The start of the 4th of July weekend is nothing to celebrate for the the family of an Ocean Isle Beach man. It all started with a simple fishing trip, but the boat that left Brunswick County Thursday morning washed ashore on Myrtle Beach Thursday night.
The coast guard is working around the clock to try and find Thomas "Andy" Richmond, who remains lost at sea. Thursday morning the 55-year-old left his canal-side Ocean Isle Beach home, jumped into his boat Heads or Tails and hit the water. The time was 8:30 a.m. Thursday night Richmond's boat washed ashore just south of Myrtle Beach, spotted by tourists who noticed that the engine was still running and the lights were still on. Now the Coast Guard is searching feverishly by air and by sea, trying to find Richmond.
The waters were choppy, much like today, meaning boaters have to use their own caution before heading out.
"Just checked the waves, we tried twice," boater Howard Ratcliffe said. "Thought it might settle down a bit. We made it out of the inlet, but it got a little bit too choppy, so we turned around and came on back in."
With the ongoing search, it remains to be seen what caused the boat to wash ashore. Since the boat was found late Thursday evening, still no sign of Richmond. Now on this holiday weekend, this small beach town holds its breath as one of its own remains missing at sea.
The Coast Guard is bringing out its full arsenal on this search. The base in Charleston launched a rescue helicopter, a 140-foot cutter and an 87-foot cutter as well as a C-130 aircraft. As of right now, the search continues...
The Coast Guard is asking anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Richmond to come forward and contact them at (843) 740-7050.