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Navy Ends Search for Sailor Who Went Missing Off North Carolina Coast

The U.S. Navy has called off the search for a sailor who went missing from a ship off the coast of North Carolina three days ago.

The sailor disappeared from the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall the afternoon of April 9 as it conducted training in support of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group during a pre-deployment exercise off of Cape Hatteras.

A source confirmed that a Navy Times report describing the sailor as a female petty officer third class was correct. Citing an internal document, the publication also reported that boots and a note had been found at the rear of the Carter Hall after the sailor went missing.

After the woman was reported missing, eight ships plus Navy and Coast Guard helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft conducted a 72-hour search, canvassing more than 22,388 square nautical miles. That area is roughly the size of South Carolina, said Lt. Mike Hatfield, a spokesman for Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

Water temperatures near Cape Hatteras in April average 58 degrees Fahrenheit, far below the 70-degree hypothermia threshold.

Ships participating in the search effort included the Carter Hall, the carrier Eisenhower, and Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers Laboon, Mahan, Mason, Nitze, Truxtun and Stout.

The sailor's identity and unit has not yet been released pending a 24-hour next-of-kin notification period.

"It is with a deep sense of sadness that we suspend the search for our fellow shipmate," Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander of Carrier Strike Group Four, said in a statement. Strike Group Four led search efforts for the sailor. "Our sincere condolences are with the Sailor's family, who have requested privacy following their tragic loss."

Navy officials are investigating the sailor's disappearance.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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