With the help of a plane, the Maine Marine Patrol continued searching Sunday for a clammer who went missing in St. George during Thursday’s fierce blizzard, according to a Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman.
But searchers did not find the man before halting their efforts at sundown.
A Marine Patrol plane, piloted by Steve Ingram, flew over the Long Cove area Sunday where 33-year-old Paul Benner was last seen, while patrol officers aboard a boat used a side-scan sonar device to look for him underwater, Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols said.
The plane was added Sunday after three officers aboard a boat looked for Benner on Saturday, but were challenged as sub-zero temperatures froze the surface of Long Cove, hindering their ability to drag the sonar device underwater.
Benner went missing sometime after 6 or 7 p.m. Thursday, after he reportedly went clam harvesting.
His disappearance launched an immediate 20-hour search effort by the Marine Patrol, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, local fire departments and a handful of local volunteers that lasted overnight Thursday until Friday afternoon.
On Saturday, only the Marine Patrol and sheriff’s deputies continued the search, spearheaded by Marine Patrol Sgt. Rob Beal.
Beal could not immediately be reached Sunday afternoon to provide an update on the day’s progress. On Saturday, he said his team needed to think carefully about how much they broke up the ice on the cove’s surface, because the fractures could thicken certain areas and hamper their efforts going forward.
Monday’s temperatures are expected to rise toward the freezing mark, potentially allowing the icy cover to thaw, which would aid the search team as its search for Benner continues into the week, Beal had said.
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