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Coast Guard ends search for missing Canadian man

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Petty Officer 2nd Class William Lawson
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U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard has ended its search for Giusseppe Reinhart, who disappeared Tuesday after departing for a fishing trip on Lake Erie.  The search for the 37-year-old Niagara Falls, ON man was one of the largest in recent years for the Coast Guard.

“Due to the amount of time that has passed since the man departed on his fishing trip and the ideal search conditions our crews experienced over the course of our searches, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue search efforts at sunset pending any new developments," said Cmdr. Tad Drozdowski, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Chief of Response. "Our deepest condolences go to the Reinhart family and all those affected.”

Drozdowski said more than 50 people from across the Coast Guard and other Canadian, federal, state and local partners searched thousands of miles "with hope of bringing Reinhart home to his loved ones."

Boat and air crews from Buffalo, Hamburg, Erie County, Niagara County, Canada, Detroit and Massachusetts completed 65 search patterns, covering 5,364 square nautical miles, but have not found anything.

"Really the only thing we have been looking for is a person in the water, either with a life jacket on or without one," said Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. j.g. Katelyn Waddle. "But after we looked at the vessel that washed ashore, it didn't look like it had crashed, other objects had fallen off the boat or anything like that. So really the only thing we've been searching for is someone who had fallen off the boat." 

Waddle said there were two life jackets onboard Reinhart's boat when it went out on the lake, but only one has been found. Also found onboard was fishing gear, a cooler with fish and personal items, a chart plotter, but no cell phone.

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Credit U.S. Coast Guard illustration
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As of midday July 28, Coast Guard search crews completed 65 search patterns covering 5,364 square nautical miles.

Authorities have speculated that Reinhart may have faked his disappearance. He had served time several years ago for manslaughter. However, the Coast Guard said Wednesday it is not aware that Reinhart is wanted by Canadian authorities.