The body of a TowBoatUS captain was recovered Friday after his 21’ vessel capsized during a night towing job near the mouth of North Carolina’s Pungo River, Coast.
Capt. James W. Cleary Jr., 45, of Belhaven, N.C., was on the mission when watchstanders at the Hobucken Coast Guard station received a call at approximately 1:20 a.m.Thursday reporting the boat had capsized while towing a 47’ recreational boat. Cleary was reported to be wearing coveralls, rubber boots and a lifejacket.
A 45’ Response Boat-Medium crew launched from Hobucken, and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from the Elizabeth City, N.C., air station. The Coast Guard crews searched along with North Carolina wildlife and Beaufort County officers. As many as 10 vessels joined as the search resumed at daybreak Friday.
The one man aboard the recreational boat being towed was taken to shore by a North Carolina Wildlife crew to be evaluated by emergency medical services. Cleary’s body was recovered around 4 p.m. Friday in the Pungo River.