Coast Guard suspends search for missing man with Macon ties

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a former Macon man and three others missing off of North Carolina.

Patrick "Trey" Topping, 39, was sailing the 54 foot vessel Flying Colours from St. Thomas to Maryland when the ship sent a distress signal in heavy seas a week ago.

"Suspending a search is always a difficult step for the Coast Guard because we understand the impact that it has on the families involved," said Rear Admiral Larry Hereth in Saturday's news release from the Coast Guard. "In the last six days, Coast Guard cutters and aircraft, along with numerous DOD aircraft searched all of the likely and unlikely areas where the crew could be. Sadly, the threshold of survival seems negligible."

The Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth, Va., received a signal from an emergency beacon at 3:30 a.m. on May 7, but lost contact with that beacon less than four hours later, according to the news release.

The emergency beacon indicated the Flying Colours was in the middle of a storm packing 35 to 40 foot waves and winds of 45 miles per hour.

Topping, who now lives in Newport, R.I., is the son of Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Develpment Commission, and Diana Rodgers, deputy superintendent of teaching for Bibb County schools.

Also missing are Jason Franks, 34, Rhiannon Borisoff, 22, and Christine Grinavic, 25. All of the crew was from Rhode Island.