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Search for local boater continues


S.C. Department of Natural Resources is continuing its ongoing search for Loris resident and missing boater Tyler Doyle and reiterated its position that the case is a hunting/boating accident this Monday, Feb. 13.

SCDNR’s investigation indicated that at about 4 p.m. on Jan. 26, Doyle and a friend were duck hunting in a 16-foot jon boat at the Little River jetties. The jetties are rock structures near the South Carolina/North Carolina line that extend from shore out into Little River Inlet and help boats navigate the swirling tides and currents.

A small-craft advisory was in effect that afternoon, meaning seas were rough and not conducive for smaller vessel operation. Doyle initially dropped the friend off on the north jetty and then moved away in the boat to scout and put out some duck decoys. They stayed in contact on the phone, although the friend said he lost sight of Doyle as he went around the south jetty. Shortly afterwards Doyle called his friend stating the boat was having mechanical issues and he couldn’t keep the motor running and the boat was taking on water.

Another boat was flagged down by Doyle’s friend and attempted to get to Doyle but had to return because of rough sea conditions.

A 911 call initiated a multi-agency search including SCDNR, North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue and the Coast Guard. An Horry County Fire Rescue boat was on scene within nine minutes of being dispatched. Doyle’s friend was rescued from the Little River jetties and they were able to locate Doyle’s boat, which was submerged with the bow up and motor down, with only a foot of the boat showing above water. Rescuers noted the water temperature was 50 degrees, and the air temperature was 39 degrees.

SCDNR’s lead investigator for this case, Ronnie Floyd, confirmed numerous calls were made by Doyle and his friend to 911, as well as family and friends seeking assistance. Location data from Doyle’s Life360, a location-sharing app, which was provided to investigators by Doyle’s family corroborates the independent carrier location data obtained from his phone carrier.

SCDNR investigators said the phone records, coupled with the data location information, witness interviews, a boat inspection and recovered items currently indicate this to be a hunting/boating accident and no foul play is suspected at this time.

Rumors regarding pending criminal charges against Doyle are unfounded.

Weather conditions that day, coupled with boating mechanical issues, appear to be the predominant contributing factors.

SCDNR officials said they remain committed to continuing the search as conditions allow. The agency currently has assistance from Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, N.C.
Wildlife Resources Commission and help from the nonprofit search-and-rescue organization Wings of Hope. SCDNR wants to thank all agencies that have assisted.

“We mourn right alongside Tyler’s family and our officers have been with them throughout this process,” said SCDNR Investigator Ronnie Floyd.

“We want to bring them closure, and that’s why we are working every day to try and find him.”

SCDNR is providing regular updates on its Twitter page.

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