A sunken trawler boat found off the Jersey shore Wednesday is the missing fishing vessel authorities have been looking for since getting reports of a boat in distress near the Sandy Hook peninsula nearly 24 hours ago, the Coast Guard confirmed Wednesday.
Crews found the boat, "El Jefe," Wednesday morning in the Sandy Hook Channel. Officials have said they believe only one person was on the boat when it sank. Divers planned to search the wreck for survivors but dangerous water currents forced the search to be suspended.
It will resume Thursday morning.
The Belford Seafood Co-Op said in a Facebook post Thursday night that the boat was captained by Tom Anderson of New York. The seafood market said that Anderson had been docking his boat there recently and was thought to be on the ship alone when it began to sink.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Captain Tom Anderson tonight," the market said in the post.
Two young fishermen told NBC 4 New York they witnessed the boat sinking.
"We saw a boat come in from the right side of us, coming to the left, and we saw it going down. Then it was gone," said Chris Festa.
"It was really scary but there was nothing we could really do," said Thomas Rodgers.
The area is a shipping channel, and the depth average is about 50 feet. Because it's a channel, the water can go from four feet to 60 feet in a short distance, authorities said.