US Coast Guard: Kayak found, authorities continue search for missing man

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SAUGUS, Mass. - Crews are continuing to search the Saugus River for a 72-year-old man, but say they have found the kayak.

Craig Dustin, of Saugus, went fishing on his kayak late Tuesday morning, but never returned to meet his wife a few hours later. 

Panicked, his son, Keith Dustin, drove to Tom’s Bait and Tackle, where his father had parked his car and set out on the water.

Dustin’s car and his trailer were still in the parking lot, as crews including Massachusetts State Police, local agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the water, also attempting to locate him by pinging his cell phone.

Family members stood by watching, crying and hugging one another.

“He’s in distress. He’s missing,” Keith Dustin said. “He went kayaking at 11 a.m. this morning and was supposed to be back at 2:30, and we knew right away that something wasn’t right.”

Bait shop owner and Saugus Harbormaster Tom Falasca knows Dustin as a regular customer and avid fisherman.

“A couple of the guys around here saw him go out around 11:30,” Falasca said. “(They) saw him go out under the bridges where he fishes, and then that was it.”

Crews searched on boats and jet skis for Dustin much of the afternoon and evening, as the conditions deteriorated. Some local authorities suspended their search Tuesday evening.

However, the U.S. Coast Guard said it has crews searching for Dustin throughout the night.

The Coast Guard, state police and local police have all resumed the search for Dustin.

Wednesday morning, Coast Guard officials say they found the man's kayak up against the seawall at 1045 Winthrop Parkway. All of Dustin's equipment was found in the kayak, except the life jacket. 

Crews are now continuing their search in the water, but are also searching on nearby land. 

Dustin, who retired in January, was a longtime Everett coach, beloved by friends and family. He has been married for about 50 years.

“He’s given his life to helping others – coaching, teaching, everything – and he’s a good man,” the younger Dustin said. “We just want him back safe and sound, that’s all.”

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