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Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol leads search for missing Atlantic Beach paddle boarder

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The Coast Guard suspended its search for missing Atlantic Beach paddle boarder Gary Turkel, 41, but under the aegis of the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol a bevy of helicopters, planes, personal waterfront and all-terrain vehicles are continuing to look for Turkel.

“We have been involved in this 24/7 since Sunday,” said Shmuel Kassover of the RNSP.

Kassover said there are aerial and land searches going on now with people from Long Island, New Jersey, upstate New York, the city and allover volunteering their time and equipment,

Right now there are three choppers with 12 spotters up in the air and at 6 p.m. four choppers with a total of 15 spotters will be going up, Kassover said. Choppers can typically remain in the air for about two and a half hours, he said.

This search for Turkel and his paddle board will continue until about late Friday. “Then we will meet see what should be done,” Kassover. “This is draining and not easy.”

Police said, Turkel was last seen at 1565 Ocean Blvd. in Atlantic Beach using his paddle board on the ocean. He was first reported missing at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday.

A family member called local authorities and said Turkel had gone out on a paddle board near the coast of Atlantic Beach and had not returned. A lifeguard on Atlantic Beach reported, he had last seen Turkel at approximately 3:30 p.m. on the paddle board without a life jacket.