Search for missing Newport Beach boater suspended

Orange County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Coast Guard officials suspended their search Monday for a boater whose vessel washed ashore in Newport Beach on Sunday.

After a 19-hour search for 47-year-old Nicholas Busick of Newport Beach, who went out boating Sunday afternoon and has not been heard from since, authorities called off the hunt at about 11:20 a.m., said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.

The search covered 186 nautical square miles, Barney said.

Busick's 17-foot Boston whaler washed ashore at 48th Street in Newport Beach at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Lifeguards were the first on scene and contacted sheriff's deputies, Braun said.

The sheriff's Harbor Patrol, Coast Guard, Newport lifeguards, and Huntington Beach and Newport Beach police departments began searching, Braun said.

The Coast Guard continued after dark with an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter equipped with night vision technology and the Cutter Narwhal, the Coast Guard said. Coast Guard officials took over the search Sunday night as their boats have infra-red technology better capable of rescues in the dark, Braun said.

Sheriff's deputies took the lead again Monday morning, she added.

"We don't believe there's anything suspicious, but homicide is investigating as is the case with all missing persons,'' Braun said.

Harbor Patrol officials said their boats will continue to look for Busick during regular patrols.

Busick's family reported that he left for the trip at about 1 p.m. Sunday, "which was nothing unusual. It's something he normally does,'' Braun said.

He was described as 6-feet tall, weighing 220 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and a dark shirt and gray shorts, the Coast Guard said.

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