Coast Guard conducting search off Outer Banks after life raft found near Buxton

The six-person life raft was found with the sea anchor onboard, no markings or visible marine growth. [photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard]

An unoccupied life raft discovered just offshore of Hatteras Island led to the Coast Guard initiating a search Thursday afternoon.

Crewmembers at Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet were contacted by a good Samaritan who reported an adrift orange life raft one mile offshore of Buxton.

An urgent marine information broadcast was issued and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, who were conducting training in the area, were dispatched to the scene.

A rescue swimmer went into the water to inspect the six-man orange life raft, which was found with a sea anchor onboard, no markings or visible marine growth.

Crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal (WPC 1128) and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat boatcrew from Station Hatteras Inlet were launched to conduct a search of the area.

Two to six-foot seas were reported in the search area, with an air temperature of 70 and a water temperature of 76.

Anyone with information regarding the possible origin of the life raft is asked to contact Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders at (910) 343-3880.

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