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Search Terminated – presumed dead

The Coast Guard has suspended its search Monday morning for a missing man whose 16-foot boat found unmanned and adrift in the Columbia River east of the I-205 bridge.

The missing man, Brian Schmitz, 52, from Sandy, has not been heard from in more than 24 hours with evidence that he had likely fallen overboard.

Personnel at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River were notified at 5:07 a.m., Sunday, and launched search crews. Watch standers also issued numerous urgent marine information broadcasts seeking any information about the unmanned boat and missing boater.

The Coast Guard conducted nearly 8 hours of searching covering a 53 square mile area between Kelly’s Point and Reed Island. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, from Sector Columbia River, located in Warrenton, two 29-foot Response Boat – Small II crews, from Station Portland, boatcrews aboard two fire boats from the Portland Fire Department and a fire boat from the Vancouver, Washington, Fire Department all participated in the search. No signs of distress were found.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s officers conducted a wellness check at Schmitz’s residence but nobody was home and the driveway was empty. Upon further investigation Multnomah County Sheriff’s officers confirmed Schmitz’s vehicle and trailer were at the Chinook Landing boat launch. The adrift boat was towed into Chinook Landing Marina by a Portland Fire boatcrew Sunday afternoon, where Sheriff’s Officers took custody of the boat until the next of kin could arrive on scene.

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