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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsSearch Called Off for Boater Thrown from Vessel Near Coki Point

Search Called Off for Boater Thrown from Vessel Near Coki Point

A friend of Todman Davaughn tows the motorboat he was thrown from Sunday morning back to shore. (Coast Guard photo)
A friend of Todman Davaughn tows the motorboat he was thrown from Sunday morning back to shore. (Coast Guard photo)

The search for a boater missing since Sunday morning after he was thrown from his vessel near Coki Point Beach was called off on Monday afternoon, St. Thomas Rescue reported.

Todman Davaughn, 51, of St. Thomas, reportedly was ejected from a 30-foot white power boat around 8 a.m. Sunday after the vessel crashed and spun out of control several times in the vicinity of Coki Point Beach and Thatch Cay, according to the Coast Guard.

On Monday afternoon, at the request of the Coast Guard, St. Thomas Rescue Public Information Officer Chris Watson notified Davaughn’s family, also of St. Thomas, that the search was being called off at 2 p.m.

“Suspending a search is among the most difficult decisions a commander has to make,” Capt. José Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander, said in a statement on Tuesday morning.  “We keep the family and loved ones of Mr. Todman Davaughn in our prayers and hope they find strength and closure during this most difficult time.  The Coast Guard will continue to monitor and support local efforts in this case pending further developments.”

The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and St. Thomas Rescue continue leading ongoing efforts in this case, the Coast Guard said.

St. Thomas Rescue responded to the scene Sunday within six minutes of one of its officers receiving a call at 8 a.m. from a concerned citizen and immediately deployed a search and rescue drone, said Watson.

“This made contact with a 30-foot Fountain motorboat being towed by a dinghy from the shoreline. The 30-foot Fountain motorboat was later identified as the boat involved in this incident,” Watson said. One person was reported onboard, and no other boat was involved in the accident, he said. According to the Coast Guard, it was a friend of Davaughn who towed the vessel back to shore.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew searches for missing boater Todman Davaughn on Sunday. The search was called off at 2 p.m. Monday. (Coast Guard photo)
A Coast Guard helicopter crew searches for missing boater Todman Davaughn on Sunday. The search was called off at 2 p.m. Monday. (Coast Guard photo)

“A further call to 911 dispatch was made by a witness who advised the operator of the boat had been ejected. Additional resources, to include the U.S. Coast Guard, and our Community Asset Register were then deployed to the scene,” said Watson.

Along with the drone, St. Thomas Rescue deployed a boat and divers, and the Coast Guard sent a helicopter from Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico that conducted an aerial search, as well as a 33-foot “Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement” vessel.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard aircrew deployed a self-locating datum marker buoy to receive real-time information on the sea-state and currents in the area. A Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft was also launched, the agency reported, and the Cutter Joseph Tezanos conducted a search throughout the night.

Strong currents and wind direction play an important role in the area, which challenged the search area, from a small narrow passage to open ocean, Watson noted.

Anyone who may have information on this case may contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-289-2041.

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