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Coast Guard suspends search for Fort Pierce fishing captain who fell overboard

Posted at 3:30 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 00:06:55-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a missing Fort Pierce fishing boat captain and father who reportedly fell overboard 300 miles east of Cape Canaveral.

Officials said crews searched more than 4,600 square miles for over 42 hours looking for 31-year-old Russell Minor.

"The decision to suspend a search is never easy and not one we make lightly," Christopher Eddy, search and rescue specialist for the Coast Guard 7th District, said in a statement. "Coast Guard crews searched day and night but, unfortunately, were unable to locate Mr. Minor. Our hearts go out to the entire family during this difficult time."

"I know he's out there, he's fighting for dear life," said Reanna Mesito, Minor's sister, in a phone interview with WPTV earlier Tuesday. "He wants to be with his son and come home to his son."

The Coast Guard said Minor, the captain of Day Boat Too, a 46-foot fishing vessel, reportedly fell overboard at 2:57 a.m. on Sunday. Crew members alerted authorities to Minor’s disappearance.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, members of the Coast Guard began searching for Minor using both rescue boats and helicopters.

"I just know he's out there," said Mesito, who added Minor has been a fishing boat captain for years. "Maybe he found something, he's on something. He has everything going through his mind, like what he can do to keep fighting."

WPTV spoke to a manager at Day Boat Seafood, LLC in Fort Pierce who said Minor was a contractor working for the company.

WPTV also spoke Minor's mother, Rayo Mesito, over the phone on Monday.

"We’re praying for Russell's return and we’re thankful to the Coast Guard and all assisting agencies for all the assets they’re using," said Mesito. "We’re so thankful they’re doing all of this for us. We want everyone to keep us in their prayers. We just want a safe return."