Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Longport - NBC40.net

Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Longport

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LONGPORT -

"All the sudden, I heard the guy screaming."

The screams came as a shock to Maria DiVentura–Cronin and Dan Cronin, who were on their back porch late Sunday night when they witnessed something they never thought they'd see.

"We saw the boat kind of coming in but you know we don't really think of it, you're just having a conversation then all the sudden boom!"

Witnesses say after the sound of the boat colliding with the buoy and later the rocks, they then heard screams of distress from the one boater able to swim to shore.

"The kid was in the water yelling help, help, I thought he was saying save me, help, help, help," said Cronin.

The passenger aboard the boat, 23 year old Justin Belz was able to swim to shore, but the man believed to be operating the boat, 45–year–old Andrew Biddle remains missing. Members of the US Coast guard and State Police continued to search for Biddle on Monday.

"I don't know a lot about him but I do know he’s a very nice guy," said Ron Sooy, who’s daughter lives across the street from Biddle.

There was no answer at Biddle's Egg Harbor Township home Monday, but neighbors there were shocked to learn that the experienced boater could be involved in an incident like this.

He knows the inlet, it’s not like he's defunct about it, he knows the inlet,” said Sooy.

But those who watched authorities continue to search for missing man; their only thoughts are with his loved ones.

"For his family,” said Michele Jones who watched from the shore. “I hope they can find him."

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