Search for missing sailor swept out to sea called off - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Search for missing sailor swept out to sea called off

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Coast Guard has called off the search for a missing sailor who was swept out to sea near Camp Pendleton.

Officials say 25-year-old Navy petty officer Josh Yeckering of Kentucky was swimming with another sailor just north of the Oceanside pier on Thursday, when he got caught in a strong current.

Despite an intensive search Thursday and Friday, efforts to find the sailor ended around 7 p.m. Saturday.

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CAMP PENDLETON (CNS) - Lifeguards, Coast Guard crews and Marine Corps personnel searched the Pacific Ocean and miles of shoreline in the far northern reaches of San Diego County Friday for a Navy petty officer who went missing during a recreational swim off the coast of Camp Pendleton.

The serviceman, a Kentucky native in his 20s whose name was not released, was in the surf with another sailor when he was swept out to sea about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Officials suspected he may have become caught in a particularly strong rip current.

Lifeguards and police from the U.S. Marine Corps base and several area cities joined the federal maritime agency and Marine Corps crews in scanning miles of ocean and coastline through the evening and overnight, finding no sign of the missing man, a member of the Camp Pendleton-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

As of this afternoon, a Coast Guard cutter and a Marine helicopter continued the ocean search, with military personnel and civilian lifeguards aiding on land, Coast Guard Petty Officer Henry Dunphy said.

Despite the amount of time the sailor had been missing, Marine officials remained "optimistic that there's still a chance we'll find him alive and rescue him," Marine Corps Capt. Roger Hollenbeck said in the early afternoon.

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit planned to continue looking for the corpsman at least until sundown if necessary, Hollenbeck said.

By about 5 p.m., the aircraft had been called off the search, but the Coast Guard ship was still plying the waters in the area, according to Dunphy. The cutter crew likely would continue with the effort until dusk, at which point Coast Guard officials were expected to re-evaluate the situation and decide how to proceed, the petty officer said.

"The decision hasn't been made at this point," Dunphy said shortly after 6 p.m.

The missing sailor's name was withheld pending notification of his family, according to Hollenbeck.

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