Search Called Off

by NBC10/AP | May 3, 2005
Search Called Off State police have called off the search for the body of a boy scout who fell overboard from a whale watching boat off Cape May Point.

Troopers used side scan sonar to probe water as deep as 20 feet for several hours until rough weather hindered the search on Monday. They plan to resume Tuesday morning.

According to state police, Nicholas Johs of Staten Island, N.Y., was aboard the Whale Watcher II with several members of his Boy Scout troop, adult chaperones and his father Friday afternoon when he fell off the bow of the 90-foot boat.

Investigators believe Johs could not have survived the cold water and fierce current. As search crews are into the third day of searching, officials presume Johs is dead.

Witnesses said that Johs and other passengers were playing a game at the front of the boat in which they were jumping up and down in rhythm with the waves in order to get airborne.

The boat was about 200 yards off Cape May Point when Johs fell overboard. Crewmembers threw Johs a life preserver, but he could not reach it. Another passenger, 19-year-old Ralph Genovese of Lower Township, N.J., jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue the teen, but had to turn back because of the cold, rough seas.

Police and Coast Guard boats equipped with sonar searched for several hours Sunday in an area about 200 yards off Cape May Point called "the rips," where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. However, rough seas forced them to suspend the search around 3 p.m.

Steve Jones, a state police spokesman, said a black T-shirt was found attached to the boat's propeller, but it was not clear if it belonged to Johs.

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Author: NBC10/AP

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