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Search Suspended for Missing Man After Unoccupied Boat Washes Ashore Near Newport Beach

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Authorities on Monday identified a missing boater whose disappearance spurred an all-out search the previous day when his unoccupied watercraft washed ashore in the Newport Beach area.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department released this photo of Nicholas Busick on April 23, 2018.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department released this photo of Nicholas Busick on April 23, 2018.

Nicholas Busick, 47, left on his approximately18-foot Boston Whaler boat about 1 p.m. Sunday, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Investigators believed he departed from Catalina Island, but the exact location was not immediately known.

Nearly five hours later — around 5:45 p.m. — the boat was found near the Newport Beach Harbor Patrol office, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun.

No one was on board, she added.

About 15 minutes after that, watchstanders from the Coast Guard Los Angeles-Long Beach received a report of a possible missing person in the water near Newport Beach, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The discovery sparked an intense search for Busick, and included the use of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that was dispatched to the coastal area.

Multiple agencies were involved in the search, including the Sheriff’s Department’s Harbor Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and Newport Beach Lifeguards.

The search was suspended Monday, at least for the time being, due to the given facts and circumstances, said Lt. Jr. Brandon Taylor of the Coast Guard.

The incident is not believed to be “suspicious,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a tweet that included a photo of the missing man.

Busick was described by the Coast Guard as being about 6-feet tall, weighing 220 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was believed to be wearing a dark T-shirt and gray shorts at the time of his disappearance, according to the release.

No further details were immediately released amid the ongoing search.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach command center by dialing 310-521-3801.

KTLA’s Judy Oehling and Jennifer Thang contributed to this story. 

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