Search underway for sailor after abandoned boat is found in Merrimack River in Newburyport

A Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the river off of Newburyport this afternoon.
A Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the river off of Newburyport this afternoon.Credit: Nathan Brown

A search is underway for a missing sailor whose boat was found abandoned in the Merrimack River near Newburyport this morning, the Coast Guard said.

Officials are looking for Norbert Decker, who lived on the 35-foot vessel. Decker is a white male in his 50s with long hair, about 170 pounds, and 5 foot 11.

The sailboat, which was dragging anchor, was reported around 10:50 a.m. by the Cove Marina in Newburyport. A dinghy attached to the boat was overturned.

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A dog believed to be Decker’s was found earlier by the marina, around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

Decker’s cellphone was also found on the vessel, said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Stanton.

The Coast Guard urges anyone with information to call 617-223-3201 or contact them by radio on VHF channel 16.

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