Coast Guard suspends search for missing fishermen

USCG image

USCG image

The United States Coast Guard suspended a search for a two-person fishing boat crew off the Jersey Shore on Friday.

The Coast Guard received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon alert for the 46-foot, Point Pleasant Beach-based Queen Ann’s Revenge approximately 40 miles off the southern Ocean County coast around 1:20 a.m. Thursday.

Fishermen also reported hearing a distress call over VHF radio shortly after the beacon alert.

Family identified Paul Matos as the boat owner and Dennis Smalling as a crew member.

The Coast Guard scoured 4,441 square miles by sea and air during the search that began shortly after the distress signal was received.

Responding units included an MH-65 Dolphin search and rescue helicopter crew, 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews from Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet and Barnegat Light, HC-130 Hercules aircrews from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and the Cutter Lawrence Lawson

A Good Samaritan fishing boat crew also assisted.

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander, Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “Suspending a case is never an easy decision to make as first responders.”

A GoFundMe account is active for Matos’ partner, Amy Romano, and their daughter, Stella.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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