The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search on Wednesday for a boater who went missing Monday in San Diego County. The Coast Guard called off the search for 52-year-old Loren Ruden, of Oceanside, at 7 p.m. They had been searching the waters from La Jolla to San Clemente.
“After an exhaustive search effort utilizing a significant number of crews and assets, we’ve come to the very difficult decision to suspend this search,” said Capt. Sean Mahoney, the commander of Sector San Diego, in an announcement. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Ruden, and my deepest sympathy goes out to them."
Luden went missing during a recreational cruise on his small motorboat.
The federal maritime agency kept two cutters and two helicopters crisscrossing roughly 600 square miles of water and shoreline for the past three days in hopes of locating Ruden, USCG Petty Officer 1st Class Henry Dunphy said.
The FBI began investigating Ruden's disappearance Tuesday because it occurred in U.S. territorial waters, over which the investigative body has jurisdiction.
Ruden, a married father of three grown children, was reported missing late Monday afternoon after his border collie, Sadie, was spotted swimming to shore near an Oceanside jetty. A beachgoer caught the animal and located Ruden's wife by using information on the dog's collar tag. How and where the animal had left the boat was a mystery.
The search for Ruden began in earnest that evening and has continued since.
About 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Ruden's 21-foot skiff, named "Lucky Dog," was found unoccupied and slowly circling under its own power in the ocean north of La Jolla. A Coast Guard boat crew pulled alongside the vacated vessel, boarded it and turned off the engine, then towed the vessel back to Oceanside.
Authorities examined Ruden's boat, including its global-positioning equipment, in hopes of determining what happened to him, but found little to go on, Dunphy said.
Statements from Ruden's family led authorities to believe that one of several life jackets he kept on his boat was gone, providing hope that he had been wearing it when he went overboard.
Ruden, a commercial charter-fishing captain, was on a pleasure outing with his dog on the day he disappeared, according to his sister, Angie Richards.
—City News Service contributed to this report.