Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday night for a man last seen at the Gloucester Point boat ramp.
Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth was notified at 10:55 a.m. Tuesday by the Virginia Marine Police that 58-year-old Michael Ballard of Montpelier in Hanover County did not return from his Monday kayaking trip, the Coast Guard said in a release.
Ballard’s wife made the initial report that her husband left home Monday morning for the Gloucester Point boat ramp with a 12-foot, forest green, sit-in kayak and was due back home that evening.
Ballard’s vehicle was found parked at the ramp but there was no sign of his kayak. Security cameras near the boat ramp show Ballard arriving with the kayak attached to his vehicle.
Crews from the Coast Guard, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Marine Police completed a 265-square nautical-mile search for more than 16 resource hours, according to the Coast Guard. Six boat and two aircrews were involved in the search.
“Our crews and the crews of our partner agencies searched extensively for Mr. Ballard,” said CWO George Bannon, command duty officer for the case. “One of the most difficult things we must do as Coast Guardsmen is suspend a search. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Ballard’s family.”