The search for a missing tow boat operator who went missing near Great Egg Harbor has been called off but that doesn't mean his wife is ready to give up hope.
Lynsey McAuliffe refuses to believe that the situation is hopeless.
"To have the coast guard in my house, right now, telling me that hope is over," she said while in tears. "I'm not doing it until they show me the hope is over!"
Her husband, David McAuliffe, 32, went missing on Tuesday.
Officials say McAuliffe left Absecon Inlet on his 45-foot Sea Tow boat Cape Hatteras around 7:45 a.m. The boat, which has a gray hull and a white superstructure, was heading towards Great Egg Harbor when it went missing.
Around 10:45 a.m., the Coast Guard received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) activation alert. EPIRBs are used by boaters to alert rescue authorities and indicate their locations if they ever get into trouble. After they received the alert, officials say McAuliffe did not respond to cell phone or radio calls.
He was the only person on board.
A 400-square-mile area was searched but no signs of McAuliffe were found so the Coast Guard suspended its search.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from the Atlantic City Coast Guard are currently searching for McAuliffe. Officials say the Cape Hatteras has survival equipment aboard, including two survival suits and two life rafts.
"We were on scene within seven minutes of the initial notification," said Lt. Randy Slusher, a helicopter pilot at Air Station Atlantic City. "We were returning from a training mission when we heard the EPIRB, and we immediately diverted to conduct search patterns. We had to return to base due to low fuel, but another aircrew had already launched to search before we departed.”
The Coast Guard said they spotted some debris from the boat, including a life raft with the vessel's name. Lynsey, meanwhile, still remains hopeful her husband will be found alive.
"He will not give up!" she said. "If God forbid, he is in that boat, that boat needs to be found immediately! His body needs to come home to his family where it's supposed to be so that we can treat him and give him the honors that he deserves!"