Formal search suspended for Kill Devil Hills kayaker missing in Croatan Sound

Alex Rush of Kill Devil Hills. [Photo courtesy Kateryna Rush]

State authorities have suspended their search for a Kill Devil Hills kayaker that has been missing in the Croatan Sound since the weekend.

Alexander Rush, 26, was last heard from Saturday night prior to launching his kayak at the N.C. Wildlife boat ramp adjacent to the William B. Umstead Bridge in Manns Harbor, where his vehicle was found Sunday evening.

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement has been coordinating the search for Rush since he was reported missing by his wife, Kateryna, on Sunday.

His kayak was found overturned approximately nine miles southeast of the bridge by a commercial fisherman on Monday.

Kateryna asked local mariners and photographers with drones to assist with looking for her husband. The couple married on Oct. 2.

She said her husband is very fit, a good swimmer and knows how to use a kayak. She said Tuesday she’s believing in miracles right now.

“I strongly believe he made it out to the shore,” Kateryna said. “I believe he made it to the land and he’s alive.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, N.C. Marine Patrol, Dare County Sheriff’s Office, emergency management personnel from Gates and Hertford counties, and other agencies, along with countless volunteers, combed the waters and shoreline between Roanoke Island and the Dare County mainland for the last three days, said N.C. Wildlife Sgt. Johnathan Beardsley.

N.C>Wildlife and Marine Patrol officers were on the water throughout the day Wednesday looking for Alexander Rush. [submitted photo]

Fixed wing and rotary aircraft, drones, side-scan sonar and numerous boats were deployed during the search that covered the length of the Croatan Sound, according to Beardsley.

“Unfortunately, without better information as to what occurred that caused Mr. Rush to go missing and the time that had passed before he was reported missing,” the formal search was suspended at 4:30 p.m., Beardsley said. “As N.C. Wildlife Officers and N.C. Marine Patrol go about their daily patrols on the water, an informal search will continue.”

Beardsley said if volunteers continue to search, it is recommended that all persons wear a life jacket and contact NC Wildlife with any developments at 800-662-7137 or 252-558-6654.

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