Search for man discontinued in Milbridge

Posted April 16, 2010, at 8:09 p.m.

MILBRIDGE, Maine — The Maine Marine Patrol and the Maine State Police used underwater side-scan sonar Friday in an attempt to find the body of Alton Jellison, 44, of Milbridge, whose boat capsized earlier this week off Bois Bubert Island, part of Milbridge.

The effort failed, and the official search for the man was discontinued Friday afternoon.

Jellison and his brother Jack Jellison, 43, had gone to a camp on the island a week ago to spend the weekend. They failed to return and were reported missing by family members Wednesday.

The marine patrol recovered Jack Jellison’s body Wednesday afternoon in water near the south end of the island, but the body of his brother has not been found.

The water temperature at the time of the incident was 41 F. Neither man was wearing a life vest, officials reported.

Marine patrol Sgt. Jay Carroll said Friday’s search included a marine patrol aircraft, a Maine Warden Service boat and state police divers.

“The full-scale search such as we have been doing for the last three days is over,” Carroll said by phone as the rescuers started for port Wednesday.

“We will continue to look from the air when the weather is good enough to fly and will look by boat off and on,” he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its participation in the search Thursday night.

“It’s always a difficult decision when we have to suspend a search,” said Edward Herbst, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends affected by this tragic event.”

Three Coast Guard boats and a Jayhawk helicopter searched an area of 100 square miles for about 32 hours Wednesday and Thursday along with the marine patrol, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and local fishermen and divers.

The community has planned a benefit dinner for the Jellison family to be held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 23, at Milbridge Elementary School. The menu will include haddock chowder, rolls, spaghetti, desserts and more. Donations also may be made at Union Trust Bank in Milbridge, in care of the Jack Jellison Memorial Fund.

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