NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Navy and Coast Guard official have suspended the search for a sailor reported missing from the USS Carter Hall Saturday afternoon off the coast of Cape Hatteras.
The Navy immediately initiated search and rescue operations. Various Navy and Coast Guard helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft participated in the 72-hour search that covered more than 22,388 square nautical miles.
"It is with a deep sense of sadness that we suspend the search for our fellow shipmate," said Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander, Carrier Strike Group Four, who led the search efforts. "Our sincere condolences are with the Sailor's family, who have requested privacy following their tragic loss."
An investigation into the incident is in progress.
Navy and Coast Guard aircraft and vessels are searching for a sailor reported missing from the USS Carter Hall Saturday afternoon off the coast of Cape Hatteras.
A crew member conducting a head count realized someone was missing around 4:20 p.m., and put out a man overboard call, according to Lieutenant Michael Hatfield, a Navy spokesperson.
The ship's training operation halted immediately, and its crew mobilized for the search and rescue mission.
"We take the safety of our sailors above everything else," said Hatfield. "We're doing everything we can to find and rescue the sailor."
The sailor is a junior petty officer, but no other identifying information will be released until 24 hours after the family is notified.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the shipmates and families," Hatfield said.
The Carter Hall is part of Expeditionary Strike Group Two, based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, but was assisting in training operations with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower off the coast of Cape Hatteras, according to Hatfield.
The water temperature off the coast of Cape Hatteras is in the mid-50s, although it could be warmer if the ship is anchored in the Gulf Stream.
Hatfield could not say whether any survival equipment was missing from the ship, or how far off the coast it was anchored, but that "training operations of this nature are conducted well off the coast."
Hatfield said it would be inappropriate to speculate about whether foul play is suspected.
More than 400 sailors are stationed on the USS Carter Hall.