Search continues for missing 23-year-old

PAULSBORO, N.J. - November 23, 2008 Since 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, volunteer groups have been combing through Mantua Creek looking for any sign of 23-year-old Chris Petit of Gibbstown, New Jersey.

"Yesterday we had 23 boats in the water, today we have about 5 and 2 kayaks," Chris' aunt, Trisha Damask, said.

Petit disappeared a week ago Saturday while out duck hunting in Mantua Creek. Their boat capsized when they got caught up in a freak storm that brought high winds and heavy rain to the area. The other three made it out alright, but Petit has been missing for 9 days now.

"We need to put closure to this very stressful situation, but the team that we have here now, they've been wanting to come, but they couldn't come unless someone called them," Damask said.

With fire recue teams giving up the search days ago, dive teams from the Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit out of Milford, New Jersey were called by the family to assist in the search.

The Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit has vast experience in this field. They have been involved in some 1,200 underwater recoveries in New Jersey since 1961.

"All our members are volunteers, what we do we do for the love of diving and helping the community. We do not accept payment for our services; we do, however, fund all our activities through the generous donations of corporate and private sponsors," Captain Frank Nester said.

15 members of the organization spent the better part of the day searching through the shallow waters of the creek.

"Generally in situations like this you don't see someone washed out to sea, you will generally find them in the vicinity of the point last seen," Nester said.

The family holds little hope that Petit will be found alive, given the bitterly cold weather of recent days.

"We're just sitting here curb side just waiting…We're all determined to find him, we want to put closure to this," Damask said.

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