The search for the missing 67-year-old swimmer, who had gone missing while participating in a 120-mile race around New York City, has been called off, with authorities believing the man to be dead.
The male swimmer, identified as Charles Vanderhorst of North Carolina, disappeared during the race on Friday afternoon, having started near the Tappan Zee Bridge, an NYPD spokesman confirmed to PEOPLE.
Authorities issued a search-and-rescue effort to locate him, but ultimately called it off at 6:45 p.m. after failing to find him, according to the New York Post.
The race had begun on June 8 and was set to finish on Saturday, June 15. However, the last day of the race was canceled amidst the news of the man’s disappearance.
“It is with great sadness that we report the loss of a swimmer today,” New York Open Water said in a statement obtained by the Epoch Times regarding the race’s cancellation.
“Our thoughts are first and foremost with the swimmer’s family and in respect for their privacy, we are declining to name the swimmer at this time,” the statement continued. “The New York Police Department is continuing search efforts in the Hudson River and the Stage 7 swim scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled. We can confirm that all swimmer safety protocols were in place and that the NYPD was escorting the field. We will continue to work closely with the authorities and will provide updates as they become available.”
NJ Advance Media reports the swimmer is presumed dead, with search rescue missions turning to a recovery mission a little over two hours after his disappearance.
The swimmer was in the second-to-last stage of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, which police called “the longest marathon swim in the world.”