ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A 21-year-old who reportedly fell off a sailboat and into the Chesapeake Bay near the South River is still missing.

Rescue crews searched for hours from Tuesday afternoon into the evening. The search resumed Wednesday morning but the efforts were later suspended.

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Fire officials said the man fell into the water around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. The two people who were on the boat with him jumped in to help but he’d already vanished.

“The report we have is that they were enjoying a sail up the Bay. They were under sail at the time and for reasons unknown, the adult male fell off the boat. The other two went in to try to rescue him, he did not surface,” said Captain Erik Kornmeyer with Anne Arundel County Fire.

This area of the water has been labeled a “navigational hazard” and a special operations dive team went in to help find the man.

The U.S. Coast Guard, State Police, Natural Resources Police and the fire department responded to the area but within hours, their efforts changed from a rescue mission to a recovery mission.

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The Coast Guard said they got the initial notification from a good samaritan vessel about a problem out on the waters.

“It’s just sad to hear that obviously somebody was missing and that it has gone to a recovery operation,” said Matt Grim who was visiting family in the area. “Last night we could actually see the first blue lights of police lights and weren’t sure what was going on but then heard that someone was missing.”

A captain with Anne Arundel County Fire said the 21-year-old couldn’t swim and he wasn’t wearing a life jacket. His identity has not been released.

“We could be having a totally different conversation now if he was simply wearing a flotation device,” said Captain Kornmeyer.

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