Raleigh man among two missing after boat found overturned near Beaufort Inlet

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Raleigh man is among two boaters missing after a fishing vessel was found overturned near the Beaufort Inlet on Tuesday morning, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard identified the two men as George Hamilton Andrews, of Raleigh, and William (Bill) Watkins Merriman IV, of Wilmington. Family members told Coast Guard officials the two men were last seen departing from Atlantic Beach on Sunday for a fishing trip aboard a 35-foot recreational boat Strike Zone.

Authorities first received reports of the overturned vessel around 8 a.m. three nautical miles outside of Beaufort inlet.

The Coast Guard said it has since searched over 3,200 square miles from Ocracoke Inlet to Bogue inlet and the surrounding areas using boats, helicopter and an aircraft.

So far, Morehead City, Beaufort and Atlantic Beach Fire Departments have assisted the search with their own boats while National Park Service rangers and other local agencies have searched the shoreline.

"This is a difficult search and rescue case with a lot of unknowns," Cmdr. Tracy Wirth, Deputy Sector Commander for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina said Tuesday night. "We are going to do everything we can for these families with missing loved ones. Our air and water assets are currently searching and will throughout the night."

Anyone with information on the two men's whereabouts is asked to contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center at (910) 343-3880.
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