PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 34-year-old boater who was reported missing Monday morning.
According to Coast Guard officials, James City County first responders told watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Virginia that 34-year-old Russell Hines’ 29-foot boat was “discovered aground with the engine running in the James River” Monday morning. He was supposed to meet family members the night before.
The Coast Guard suspended the search for Hines Tuesday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission said a body was found near Mount Pleasant Plantation, about four miles from where Hines left on Gray’s Creek. The body was sent to the medical examiner’s office for identification.
In a release, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Virginia Cmdr. Jason Ingram sent his condolences to Hines’ family.
“We grieve with Mr. Hines’s loved ones and offer them our deepest condolences,” said Ingram. “Thank you to all of our crew members and local partner agencies for your efforts. We are suspending this search with very heavy hearts.”
Local and state assets will continue the effort Wednesday through Friday and then re-evaluate on Friday.
The boat was found on the James River near Two Rivers Country Club at Governor’s Land in James City County. Hines had originally left from the Gray’s Creek area on the Surry County side of the river. Officials say his boat had signs of recent occupancy.
10 On Your Side spoke with Hines’ wife by phone Monday night. She said her husband was supposed to meet some family for dinner on Sunday night.
The Coast Guard was contacted around 10:42 a.m. Monday about the missing boater.
After Hines’ boat was found Monday, authorities launched a response boat Monday along with the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin and an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter to help in the rescue effort.
“There was a kayaker that was in the area that found the boat that had run aground and subsequently called it in and the resources were deployed at that point,” said Col. Matt Rogers with the Virginia Marine Police, the agency handling the investigation into the incident. “At this time we don’t have any information that’s conclusive to any one circumstance or another.”
Rogers said Hines’ cell phone was still in the boat.
10 On Your Side found the boat that belonged to Hines tied up to a dock at the marina at the Two Rivers Country Club at Governor’s Land. Hines’ boat is named “Catch 22.”
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is handling the investigation of the possible boating accident. The Coast Guard conducted the search, but was assisted by departments from James City County, Newport News, Prince George County, West Point and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
He’s described as 6 feet 2 inches tall and about 190 pounds with brown hair.
Anyone with any information about Hines’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Sector Virginia Command Center at 757-483-8567.
Correction: The Coast Guard initially said Hines’ boat was found in the Gray’s Creek area. That information is not correct. Hines left from Gray’s Creek, but his boat was found on the other side of the river near Two Rivers Country Club.