Funeral for towboat captain set for Tuesday

BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The funeral for a towboat captain who drowned last week after his boat capsized will be held Tuesday in Belhaven.

The body of J.W. Cleary was found Friday afternoon in the Pungo River.

The 45-year-old Cleary was a captain for TowBoatUS and was towing another boat early Thursday when his 21-foot towboat capsized.

His obituary says Cleary is survived by a wife, two daughters and a son.

His funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. at West Belhaven Church of Christ, with burial following in the Belhaven Community Cemetery.

A fund for the family has been set up. Donations can be made to the Cleary Family Fund, c/o Southern Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 87, Belhaven, NC 27810.


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The body of a towboat captain who went missing Thursday was found in the Pungo River, according to Beaufort County Emergency Services.

Crews found the body around 4 p.m. Friday just north of Wades Point, Emergency Management Chief Chris Newkirk said.

Officials are not releasing the name of the victim at this time.

Authorities say the towboat captain went missing after his boat capsized early Thursday morning at the mouth of the Pungo River.



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Beaufort County EMS officials say state and local agencies have resumed the search for one person Friday morning after a boat capsized in the frigid waters of the Pungo River Thursday.

EMS officials say as many as ten boats will join the search Friday as they work to recover the capsized vessel.

Coast Guard officials are on standby to join the search if needed.

The search was suspended Thursday night.



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Authorities say a towboat captain is missing after his boat capsized early Thursday morning at the mouth of the Pungo River.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it received the call around 1:20 a.m. that the 21-foot TowBoatUS boat had capsized.

The boat was towing a 47-foot recreational boat at the time.

The Coast Guard says the 45-year-old captain was wearing coveralls, rubber boots and a lifejacket.

A man on the recreational boat under tow was taken by a North Carolina Wildlife crew and was evaluated by EMS.

A Coast Guard boat from Hobucken and a helicopter from Elizabeth City, along with state and local crews, continue to search for the missing captain.

Beaufort County officials say they will continue the search until nightfall, and then resume on Friday morning.

Authorities have not released the missing person's name, but do say they live in Beaufort County.


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Coast Guard officials are searching for one person Thursday morning after a boat capsized in the frigid waters of the Pungo River overnight.

Officials say one boat was towing another around 1:20 Thursday morning when the lead boat capsized in the mouth of the Pungo River near the Pamlico Sound. They say they are searching the water for one person.

Search vessels include 45 Station Hobucken and a helicopter from Elizabeth City. Officials from N.C. Wildlife and Beaufort County small boats have also joined the search, according to Coast Guard officials.

No other details were available about the missing person.

Stay with WITN and WITN.com for the latest details.