PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Coast Guard crews were searching Saturday morning for a missing Maine boater in the Portsmouth Harbor as the effects of a tropical storm moved up the coast.
An abandoned motorboat belonging to Robert Schultze, 63, of Shapleigh, Maine, was found Friday afternoon near White Island in Portsmouth Harbor. was found anchored near Kitts Rocks at 2 p.m. No was on the boat but boat keys, wetsuits and a license were found, the Coast Guard said.
A Coast Guard patrol boat was searching through thick fog, 5-foot seas and 15-20 knot winds created by the the storm. Crews searched the 32-square-foot area for much of the night, then resumed their search for Schultze once the sun rose Saturday morning.
A helicopter from Cape Cod searched the area briefly but was forced to return to base because of the weather.
“The hurricane is not a factor in this mishap, but it is a factor in our ability to search at this moment,”
Cmdr. Paul Wolf said by phone from Portland, Maine.
The Coast Guard is working with state and local agencies to coordinate the search in the water and to investigate the incident on shore, he said.
“We are also working very closely with the family to try to determine the circumstances for … the trip and any other possible locations where he may have gone, and we have ruled out the engine problem because the keys were in the ignition and rescue workers were able to try the engines and they started right up,” he said.
“We don’t know what may have happened, but we are going with the likelihood that he may be in the water and in need of assistance,” Wolf said.
He asked anyone with information to contact the Coast Guard station in New Castle, N.H.