Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker, switches to recovery mission

The Yellowfin approaches Dean Britt’s overturned kayak near Kiawah Island Sunday afternoon.

Hope is dwindling for a 22-year-old kayaker who has been missing in the ocean since Saturday as a rescue operations shift to recovery efforts.

The Coast Guard said Monday afternoon that it suspended its search for 22-year-old Dean Britt, who left Folly Beach for Morris Island about 1 p.m. Saturday with friend, 21-year-old Logan Brown. They were reported missing about 9:40 p.m. the same day.

Brown was rescued Sunday after an S.C. Department of Natural Resources air crew spotted him clinging to his kayak about 2 miles away from where Britt’s empty, overturned kayak was found.

Around 12:45 p.m. Sunday, a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Clearwater, Fla., found Britt’s kayak about four miles off the coast of Kiawah Island. The crew of the Charleston-based cutter Yellowfin pulled it from the water.

Brown, who had not been wearing a life vest, was taken to Medical University Hospital for evaluation after a night in the water.

Coast Guard search efforts covered more than 2,800 square miles with the help of about 15 state and local agencies. Crews with the Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office continue to search for Britt.

“Suspending a search is never an easy decision to make,” said Capt. Gary Tomasulo, commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “We will stand by the family during this difficult time and offer them any support we can.”

Melissa Boughton contributed to this report. Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.