CAMDEN COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Crews are looking for three boaters who left for a crabbing trip near the Camden Point area Tuesday morning, but never returned.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office said the three men — Ismael Minh Smaell, Inguyen Khink Lung and Khiem Huynh — were reported to have left between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on a 25-foot yellow boat with a white cab. The men were expected to return Tuesday afternoon, but never showed up, according to deputies.
Fellow fishermen told WAVY.com the crabbers are from Vietnam. Two of the men just started work there about a month ago, but the captain, Smaell, has been around for about three years.
“He’s a good captain, but he is just starting,” said fisherman Sam Tim. “He doesn’t really know the ropes, so he doesn’t know how to maintain a boat when there are big waves out there.”
Tim said the Albemarle Sound was rough on Tuesday, not a day to be on the water.
“He was right behind us and he turned back around,” Tim said about Mohammand. “Then we kept going forward and then he went right back out. He should have just came back home, because he’s not ready for it. He’s not ready for the water.”
U.S. Coast Guard crews in Elizabeth City were notified and dispatched a helicopter and boat to the search the sound and nearby areas. North Carolina Wildlife also assisted the search. The U.S Coast Guard suspended their search around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Camden Sheriff Detectives will continue to investigate.
Wednesday afternoon, Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said the boat and fishermen had still not been located and that the Coast Guard had not found any debris to track back to the missing boat.
Perry said a “be on the lookout” was sent to all nearby law enforcement around 4 p.m. Wednesday for a “yellow 1974 Silverton outboard engine fiberglass cabin boat.” He said the boat would be loaded for fishing and crabbing and that there would be three Asian males aboard. He said they may have docked at any marina in the eight-county area.
The boat hull number is NC8662DZ.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Camden County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 338-5046.