Search for missing New Hampshire native who fell off boat in Casco Bay suspended

Edward Berke

Edward Berke LinkedIn photo

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 07-08-2024 11:44 AM

Modified: 07-09-2024 10:57 AM


The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed the suspension of search operations for Edward Berke, a 31-year-old Bow native who fell off a boat in Casco Bay on July 4.

Berke, an alumnus of Bow High School, was on a boating trip aboard a vessel from the maker “Grady White” with three others in Maine when the Coast Guard received a distress call around 8 p.m. reporting Berke had fallen overboard near Clapboard Island.

It took approximately 10 to 15 minutes for the passengers on the boat to realize that Berke was missing. He was not wearing a life jacket at the time.

In response, Coast Guard Station South Portland immediately deployed a 47-foot motor lifeboat and a helicopter to initiate the search.

The boat was traveling south between Mackworth Island and Chebeague Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The search efforts continued through Thursday evening and into Friday morning, with coordination from over 15 surface and air assets spanning nine state, local, and federal agencies.

The collective search covered nearly 350 square miles over 30 hours.

Despite the extensive efforts, Berke remained missing and the Coast Guard decided to suspend the search on Friday afternoon.

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“We offer our sincere condolences to the family,” said Capt. Matt Baker, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “We conduct every search and rescue mission with the hope of returning missing people to safety, which is why suspending any search and rescue effort is one of the hardest decisions I make. We are grateful for the dedication of the state and local agencies who contributed to this search effort.”

Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the incident and carrying out recovery operations with other agencies.