Search Suspended For Missing Kite Surfer Off Jersey Shore

HIGHLANDS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Helicopter and marine crews suspended their search Saturday for a missing kite surfer in Sandy Hook Bay.

The search was suspended at 3:30 p.m. Saturday off Sandy Hook in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The U.S. Coast Guard said it will not resume search unless there is another spotting of the missing kite surfer.

The Coast Guard said a boater reported seeing a kite surfer in distress near Horseshoe Cove in Gateway National Park around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The boater said he saw an unconscious man attached to a kite in harness, but as he was trying to pull the surfer from the water, a gust of wind pulled the kite line from his hands and he lost sight of the man.

The kite surfer was described as being a white male with dark hair wearing black shorts. He is identified as Sinisa Bjelajac, 44, of Hoboken.

In all, the Coast Guard and other agencies searched more than 150 square miles. They logged about 30 combined total search hours while conducting separate search patterns, the Coast Guard said.

“Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make,” said Cmdr. Brian Murphy, Sector New York search and rescue mission coordinator, said in a news release. “After heavily saturating the area with Coast Guard and partner agency assets, we have suspended the active search. We will resume searching if any new information is obtained which would assist us in locating the missing kite surfer.”

In the sport of kite surfing, riders use surfboards and large kites to propel themselves across the water.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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