Officials suspend search for missing boater - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Officials suspend search for missing boater

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The U.S. Coast Guard spent a third straight day scanning wide swaths of ocean off the North County coastline Wednesday in search of an Oceanside man who went missing during a recreational cruise on his small motorboat.

The federal maritime agency kept two cutters and two helicopters crisscrossing roughly 600 square miles of water and shoreline from La Jolla to San Clemente in hopes of locating 52-year-old Loren Ruden, USCG Petty Officer 1st Class Henry Dunphy said.

The search was suspended at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

The FBI began investigating Ruden's disappearance Tuesday because it occurred in U.S. territorial waters, over which the investigative body has jurisdiction.

Ruden, a married father of three grown children, was reported missing late Monday afternoon after his border collie, Sadie, was spotted swimming to shore near an Oceanside jetty.

A beachgoer caught the animal and located Ruden's wife by using information on the dog's collar tag. How and where the animal had left the boat was a mystery.

The search for Ruden began in earnest that evening and has continued since.

About 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Ruden's 21-foot skiff, named "Lucky Dog," was found unoccupied and slowly circling under its own power in the ocean north of La Jolla. A Coast Guard boat crew pulled alongside the vacated vessel, boarded it and turned off the engine, then towed the vessel back to Oceanside.

Authorities examined Ruden's boat, including its global-positioning equipment, in hopes of determining what happened to him, but found little to go on, Dunphy said.

Statements from Ruden's family led authorities to believe that one of several life jackets he kept on his boat was gone, providing hope that he had been wearing it when he went overboard.

Ruden, a commercial charter-fishing captain, was on a pleasure outing with his dog on the day he disappeared, according to his sister, Angie Richards.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier story, read below.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The FBI is now investigating what may have happened to a boater who went missing off the North County coast.

Loren James Ruden, 52, was reported missing late Monday morning. His boat was found early Tuesday morning, unoccupied after his dog apparently swam to shore.

The search for Ruden was sparked when two of Erik Krammer's surfing students found the missing man's dog in the ocean on Monday.

"First thing that went through my mind was wow, cool, they saved someone's dog off the jetty, dog must have fallen in and I was basically looking around and was like wait, there's nobody coming for this dog," Krammer said.

Krammer says the owner's address was on the dog's collar. When he took it there, he would meet Loren Ruden's wife, who was shocked when he told her he found her dog in the ocean.

"The moment was beautiful with the reuniting of the dog with the owner. Then the owner was like 'Wow, where's my husband?' and that's when the seriousness of the moment kind of took over," Krammer said.

Ruden's boat was found Tuesday, empty and going in circles off the coast of La Jolla. His disappearance has sparked a large search that includes the Coast Guard, FBI and volunteers like Ron Mealey.

"Try to find them, try to find the person. That's our job. We'll check out anything that might be bigger, brighter or different," Mealey said.

Mealey is with the Auxiliary Coast Guard. We caught up with him before he and his crew set out for their search area, a large stretch of ocean from the Encinitas Power Plant to La Jolla.

"We're looking for anything in the water, different color, different shape. We try to tell people bigger, brighter, and different. Looking for something different in the water," he said.

"This is somehting that started off really strange and it's gone to something really sad for the family and the friends and the community here," Krammer said.

Krammer says the Rudens are well known in Oceanside and everyone is praying for good news.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the lost boatman and his family, and I hope we figure out what happened in this situation," he said.

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