Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 21, 2011

Missing Northport man feared drowned

NORTHPORT — Officials continue to search Grand Traverse Bay for a Northport man missing for almost a week.

Jay Farr, 59, was last seen the morning of Oct. 15. Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf said Farr made comments that he was going to remove a dinghy from its mooring in Northport Bay.

"It's our belief that he presumably drowned at that time, being that the dinghy and the canoe that he used to get to the dinghy in 16 feet of water were found washed up in Antrim County," Oltersdorf said.

Family members called 911 early Sunday when Farr did not return. A Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Traverse City began searching Sunday morning, along with a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Charlevoix.

A dinghy matching Farr's was located on the east side of Grand Traverse Bay in Antrim County, but Farr was not located.

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Chris Breuer said they called off the search Sunday night.

"They had no more information to go on," Breuer said. "All the locations he could have drifted were saturated with searching. It was suspended until further information is received."

Local officials continue to look for Farr.

"(Wednesday) we had assistance from the Grand Traverse sheriff's office, Antrim County sheriff's office, and others," Oltersdorf said. "They utilized side-scan sonar, as well as an underwater camera in order to locate a body. We were unable to find anything."

Oltersdorf said the search will continue today.

"Weather permitting, in the absence of a recovery, we'll also be searching on Saturday and Sunday," he said.

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