OAK HARBOR, Ohio — Officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the agency is scaling back the search for two boaters who have been missing since last week.
Two boats will continue to search Lake Erie during regular patrols from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m but additional boats will no longer be a part of the search effort, ODNR spokesman Eileen Corson said.
“Over the Easter weekend, we had a lot of resources on the water from multiple different agencies,” said Ms. Corson. Two boats scouted the search grid on Sunday but found nothing, she said.
Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said his agency officially suspended its search on Friday for Bryan Huff, 32, of Rossford, and Andrew Rose, 33, of Maumee.
“We believed it was a recovery effort but we wanted to put closure to the loss for the families but at this time we believe search efforts would be futile,” he said.
Authorities will continue the investigation to determine why the 21-foot fishing boat became submerged off Locust Point on Lake Erie, a tragedy that left two people dead and two men missing.
The bodies of Amy Santus, 33, of Perrysburg Township, and Paige Widmer, 16, of Pelion, S.C., were recovered Thursday from the lake.
Ms. Santus and Miss Widmer died of drowning, according to the autopsies.
Officials with the Ottawa County Coroner’s Office said both women were wearing life jackets and warm clothing. and there was no evidence that hypothermia was a contributing factor.
Mr. Huff and Mr. Rose were experienced fishermen and knew the area well, Ms. Corson said.
She said the Division of Watercraft is acquiring software that will be used to examine the GPS system on the boat, which could unlock some clues as to the exact location of the boat before the incident.
Chad German, an area supervisor with the ODNR, said conditions on the lake were choppy with 2-to-3-foot waves the day the boat ran into trouble.
He said those conditions could have played a role in the boat becoming partially submerged.
The boat was structurally sound; life jackets and a marine radio also were found on board, he said.