Beaufort News

Beaufort sailor believed dead after going overboard miles off N.C. coast

A Beaufort man and experienced sailor is feared dead after going overboard off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday.

David Pontious, a 54-year-old Beaufort resident, was part of a crew transporting a sailboat offshore from Morehead City, N.C., to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard received a call Monday about a man overboard 370 nautical miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., a Coast Guard spokesman said Friday.

A Coast Guard airplane searched the area and a call went out to a boat in the vicinity that is part of a volunteer rescue network. The search continued Tuesday and was suspended Wednesday pending further developments, the Coast Guard spokesman said.

The 48-foot sailboat -- named "Cimarron," according to the Coast Guard -- left Moreheard City on Oct. 22. Pontious was part of a four-man crew replacing another crew as the boat was being transported from Maine to the Virgin Islands, his father, Frank, said Friday.

A Coast Guard report noted 3-foot seas and 12-knot winds, conditions Frank Pontious called moderate.

The sailboat has not yet made port, Frank Pontious said, and no other information will be known until talking to the boat's captain.

David Pontious was an accomplished sailor who had lived in Beaufort for about five years, his father said. He graduated from seamanship school in Florida, taught sailing in San Francisco, was a U.S. Merchant Marine officer and had participated in multiple offshore boat deliveries in the past, according to his obituary.

Pontious was also a member of the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club and served as a race officer.

After attending Florida State, he worked 30 years in healthcare technology, much of that time in San Francisco. He most recently worked at CareCore -- now eviCore -- in Bluffton.

Pointious was also remembered in his obituary for his love of dogs.

"There wasn't a dog around that he wouldn't stop and pet," the remembrance reads.

The family is asking that donations be made to nonprofits Junior Sailing of Beaufort and Chain Free Beaufort.

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

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