Coast Guard suspends search for missing boaters in MS River

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The U.S. Coast Guard confirms they have suspended the search for two people who went missing Friday after a tugboat sank in the Mississippi River.

Officials said they called off the search Saturday because they don't have enough assets to continue. They also said too much time has passed in the search.

Family members identified the boaters as Keith Pigram and his stepson Anquavioius Newson.

Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River and local agency assets searched approximately 29 hours and 324 nautical miles of river.

"Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the missing people," said Capt. Roxanne Tamez, commander, Sector Lower Mississippi River. "We would like to extend a special thanks to the other agencies for their support in the search effort."

Agencies involved in the search were Sector Lower Mississippi River 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew, Memphis Police Department Aviation, Memphis Police Department Harbor Patrol, three Shelby County Sheriff's Office vessels, and Tennessee Fish and Game.

Rescue crews set up a command post on Friday at the Mud Island Amphitheater Boat Ramp. The crews initially suspended their search at about 5 p.m. Friday after the sun went down.

SCSO spokesman Earle Farrell said the pilot and a crew member are missing. The tugboat sank about three miles from Mud Island.

"The Mississippi River is not safe under any condition. The good thing is there's a light breeze, there's no waves out there, that makes it easier to see anything on the water, but time is of the essence. The faster we can find these folks the better off they're going to be," Farrell said.

WMC Action News 5 will provide more information as it becomes available.

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