Authorities call off search at jetty after no sign of boat found; investigation continues in Saturday wrecks

The Charleston Fire Department fire boat hit somthing in Charleston harbor Saturday night that caused damage to the hull. (Brad Nettles/ 4/14/13 Buy this photo

The Coast Guard has halted its search for what was originally believed to have been a sinking boat near the same location as Saturday’s crash on the Charleston Harbor south jetty.

The cutter Yellowfin was heading out of the harbor when it spotted what the crew believed to be the bow of a vessel of undetermined size, bobbing in the water, a spokesperson said earlier today. Smaller boats were dispatched and a helicopter assisted with the search.

There was no positive ID that it was actually a boat and there were no distress calls and the search has been called off.

The only identifying mark was that the boat had a black strip visible. The report came in about 10:15 a.m.

The sighting was near where an accident was reported Saturday night, where a Navy vessel and Charleston’s fire boat also reported striking objects in the water, with the Navy boat hitting the jetty.

What the Charleston boat hit is unclear.

The Navy patrol boat crashed into a jetty during a routine training exercise. The vessel is still stuck on the rocks, a spokeswoman for the Navy confirmed Monday morning.

Charity Hardison, public affairs office for the Navy Expedition Combat Command, said the Navy is still investigating the incident and has not determined how the crash occurred.

The 34-boat boat hit the harbor’s south jetty at 10:14 p.m. Saturday.

Six sailors on board were injured in the accident. One was transported off the boat by helicopter.

Hardison did not estimate how long it will take to remove the boat from the jetty.

A Charleston City fire rescue boat that was dispatched to respond to the Navy boat wreck also struck something in the harbor on Saturday night.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598. Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.

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