Neighbors remember missing boater

By Brandon Herring - bio | email

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WMBF) - The Coast Guard has called off the search for Thomas "Andy" Richmond whose boat washed ashore in Myrtle Beach late Thursday night.  Leaving those who knew him, with unanswered questions.

Richmond left Ocean Isle Beach, NC on a fishing trip Thursday morning, and he was not in his boat when it came onto the shore near 62nd Avenue North.

Richmond's boat is now back in his Ocean Isle Beach neighborhood and for people who live nearby, it is a reminder he was lost at sea without explanation.

"It's a tragedy that's hard to believe," Bob Williams said. "It's really unbelievable that, it takes time for this to kind of set in."

Williams had a chance to go fishing with Richmond recently. He said Richmond had a "bucket list" of fish he wanted to catch.

"He was a great guy - real personable, very nice, quiet, loved fishing," Williams said. "That was probably his life. We went out last week to the Gulf Stream and I've never seen anybody enjoy themselves more and to be part of the crew and pitch in work. He just loved it."

Ronnie Ramsey, who lives just a few doors down from Richmond's home, also had good things to say about the 55-year-old man. Ramsey said Richmond and his wife were originally from Concord, NC, and   the couple did not have children. They moved to Ocean Isle about four or five years ago Ramsey said.

"If you needed a favor done he would be the first one there to help you - very kind person I think, I would have to say," Ramsey explained. "He would fish two or three times a week, and a lot of times if he couldn't get someone to go he would go by himself."

The water behind Richmond's home connected to the Shallotte Inlet, which Richmond used to get to the ocean. At the boat dock next door, two little girls Cassidy and Camryn Hales left flowers in Richmond's honor.

"We just put them out here hoping he would come back, to let him know we're thinking about him and everything."

Ramsey said the most difficult part of the tragedy may be not knowing exactly what happened to Richmond. He said the neighbors are doing their best to support his wife.

"We're hoping and praying there is some closure for the family," Ramsey said. "Everybody is closing ranks and sticking together trying to help as much as possible."

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