Coast Guard suspends search for missing Air Force member off Texas coast

The search for a missing Air Force member who was last seen swimming near Freeport, Texas, on Sunday has been suspended by the US Coast Guard.

Elijah Posana, 22, was swimming approximately 100 feet from shore at Surfside Beach when an individual saw him pulled away by a rip current, according to a news release from the Coast Guard’s 8th District Texas Detachment.

Freeport sits along the Gulf of Mexico, about 60 miles south of Houston.

Coast Guard and local agencies searched approximately 100 square miles over 28 hours for Posana, according to the release.

Posana’s father told CNN affiliate KPRC that his son was on leave from his Air Force station in Missouri and vacationing with his family in Texas at the time of the incident.

He said he wanted the search for his son to continue, the affiliate reported.

“We cannot just wait like this for his body to go the inland water. We need somebody to search for him 24 hours,” Posana told KPRC.

Coast Guard Capt. Jason Smith said the decision to suspend was “extremely difficult,” according to the press release. “Every time we run a search and rescue case, we think of the missing as our own and in this case, the missing is a fellow service member which definitely weighs heavily on our hearts.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the airman’s family and friends,” he added.

There were a total of six Coast Guard rescue operations along the Gulf Coast over the weekend, a separate news release from the US Coast Guard Heartland said.

“As the warmer weather approaches, boaters are becoming more active on the waterways throughout the region, and we want to remind them to be prepared for their time on the water,” said Paul Barnard, with Coast Guard recreational boating safety specialist, in the release.

“The uptick in cases this weekend serves as a good reminder to all that on-water emergencies can happen at anytime,” Barnard said. He encouraged boaters to be prepared for any safety issues by making sure they have supplies and a way to communicate.

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