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> Missing Boaters, NEWS
Guest_lckyjim_*
post Nov 12 2003, 02:05 PM
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Release #: S11-03
Release date: Nov. 9, 2003
Contact: Petty Officer Rob Suddarth

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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SEVENTH COAST GUARD DISTRICT - WEST FLORIDA REGION

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Coast Guard searches for overdue boaters

Georgians last seen leaving Keaton Beach

The Coast Guard is searching for four missing boaters who were due back to Keaton Beach, Fla., at 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

Missing are Dan Hutchinson, 24, Jeremy Giffin, 24, Amanda Player, 20, and Dominic Barrows, 38, all from south Georgia.

The Coast Guard has been searching for the missing boaters and their 20-foot "Sea Craft" vessel since receiving the overdue report from the Keaton Beach Marina last night.

The search includes the coastline and Gulf out to 70 miles west of Keaton Beach with aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., rescue boats from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, Fla., and the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin, an 87-foot patrol boat out of Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Sea conditions in the area are six foot seas and 20-knot winds.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this vessel or the missing boaters is asked to contact the Coast Guard.

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___FROM CHANNEL 6 NEWS __________________________________________________

A group of friends from Valdosta traveled to Keaton Beach Saturday for a daylong fishing trip, but never returned. Family members would say the search isn't going fast enough. They've traveled from Valdosta to Keaton Beach looking for answers, but those are hard to come by.

It looked like the perfect conditions for a fishing trip, but when the wind picked up, so did the seas, posing trouble for a 20-foot vessel with four friends on board. It's the type of boat 24-year-old Matthew Hutchinson, his girlfriend Amanda Player, Jeremiah Giffin and Dominique Barrows were on last Saturday. They left the Keaton Beach marina before noon and haven't returned.

“It's certainly not the best boat to be out in, it's too light to be offshore without another boat with them,” says Tom Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is Matthew's uncle. He was also fishing Saturday, but came in around noon. He says his nephew has years of experience on the water, but according to locals experience doesn't matter when the weather turns bad.

“I've seen so many people who go out there regardless of weather and a couple of them didn't come back,” says beach resident Robert Sadousky.

Family members and local officers hope that's not the case this time- in fact hope is what keeps them going.

“Over the last 27 years I've seen many of these, I know hope and prayer often times prevails in situations like this,” says captain of fish and wildlife, Roy Brown.

It's important to note the boat was fully equipped with life preservers, extra rope, it even had a radio, but nobody has heard from the Valdosta group. Other boats had difficulty on the water last Saturday. Another boat with four folks from Valdosta was recovered Sunday morning around 3 a.m. They too ran into trouble with rough seas.

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It's been four days and there's still no sign of four missing boaters from the Valdosta area. The group was last seen leaving Keaton Beach Saturday morning for a day-long fishing trip. Now, the Coast Guard is widening the search, looking across the Gulf of Mexico for any clues to their whereabouts.

Four Valdosta families are camping out in Keaton Beach, Florida waiting for their sons, daughter, and husband to be found.

“That's all we want is for them to come back in, put our arms around them and tell them we love them,” says Dell Player, father.

Player says his daughter Amanda and her boyfriend Matthew Hutchinson were practically attached at the hip. He say's everyone thought they'd get married, but both have been missing since last Saturday morning, when they and two friends Jeremiah Giffin and Dominic Barrows took their 20-foot sea craft 20 miles out to sea.

“We think that they may have been better prepared than some boaters,” says Roy Brown of Fish & Wildlife.

Matthew's father Danny agrees. Both have been on the water during rough seas, and both take every safety precaution.

“We have a system we go through and we even back checked. There's nothing in the storage shed where safety stuff would have been if he hadn't taken it with him,” says Danny Hutchinson, Matthew’s father.

Still, the waiting is dragging on. Nourishment to keep hope alive is first priority at Keaton Marina. Generous offerings that are needed for this group, who says they're not going anywhere anytime soon.
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Guest_Lickskillet_*
post Nov 12 2003, 08:04 PM
Post #2





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Boat was capsized found today at 2:30 52 mi SW of Keaton Bch no sign of survivers.
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Robert 31320
post Nov 12 2003, 08:18 PM
Post #3


Let's go Fishing!
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This doesn't sound like a very happy ending.


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"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after" ~ Henry David Thoreau
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Rob Herrington
post Nov 12 2003, 08:28 PM
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the family and friend are in our prayers! unbelieveable, and very sad!


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Stan
post Nov 12 2003, 08:35 PM
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Not good. Keep hoping for the best!


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Guest_Brad_*
post Nov 12 2003, 10:16 PM
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Surface temperature is in the low 70's to upper 60's right now. Prayers for the families of those missing. It doesn't look good.
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Guest_JCSav_*
post Nov 13 2003, 12:17 PM
Post #7





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Man, sorry to hear about that. Hope everyones being careful this time of year with the winds as high as they have been. Even with moderate wave heights I am always surprised how bad the water can get in the entrance to some of our inlets.
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