SANDY HOOK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey State Police said they’ve located the 40-foot fishing boat that sank in the Sandy Hook Channel on Tuesday.

The vessel was found just before 9 a.m. Wednesday closer to the beach near Buoy 14 using side scan sonar, police said.

Police confirmed around 2:15 p.m. that the vessel they found was the missing boat El Jefe.

Tom Andresen (Credit: Handout)

Tom Andresen (Credit: Handout)

State police said they could not confirm whether there was a body on board the sunken boat.

The discovery was made exactly where fisherman Tom Andresen went missing Tuesday afternoon, CBS2′ Ilana Gold reported. State police and the Coast Guard said they are suspending activity for the day and will resume Thursday.

A captain of another boat reported seeing Andresen’s 40-foot boat sinking in the Sandy Hook Channel around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Search For Missing Boat Near Sandy Hook, N.J.

When rescuers arrived, they found only small clues bobbing on the surface, including a life ring and a cooler. Before sunset, they also found floating oil that could have come from a boat in distress.

Divers suspended their search overnight, and the search relied primarily on side scan sonar — a high-tech tool that sees objects in the water that the eye alone cannot.

Ryan Radice and his fishing buddies watched the massive operation unfold.

“All the ambulances and everything, and then we started seeing the boats and the helicopters out in the water,” said Radice, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. “We did talk to a guy – a guy and his wife who did see the boat go down, like a fishing boat, but it was too far out in the water for them to really see anything.”

Andresen’s sister, Peggy Califano, spoke with CBS2 on the phone. She said the entire family is keeping in close contact with the search teams and are waiting for divers to find him.

“I’m not giving up hope. None of us are giving up hope,” she said. “He’s an excellent swimmer. He lived by the beach his whole life.”

Joe Fass, Andresen’s next-door neighbor in Bridgewater, described Andresen as a “family guy” who is married with two children and grandchildren.

Fass said the two bonded over fishing.

“When I first got the boat, Tommy would come over and ask, ‘Can I do something or can I help something with you?'” Fass told CBS2’s Matt Kozar.

Joseph Branen is the general manager of Belfod Seafood Co-op. He said he’s been buying fish from Andresen for the last three years and said he left from there to go fishing Tuesday morning.

“I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I said a few prayers for Tom,” he said.

Other fishermen said Andresen was too inexperienced to be out in the water alone.

“He’s only got three years on the water,” said Bennett Jones of Belford Seafood Co-Op. “That’s not enough to be out there by yourself.”

Jones never imagined Andresen wouldn’t return.

“I waved to him. He waved back,” he said.”As far as I know, that’s the last time I saw him.”

The Coast Guard, the NYPD Special Operations Unit, the FDNY, the New Jersey State Police and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office have all been assisting in the search.


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