Decisions to call off searches for missing soldiers is far from arbitrary, as is the case for missing Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff after four days. “It’s never easy for the Coast Guard to suspend a search,” said Petty Officer Sydney Phoenix, “When we do, it is up to the search and rescue mission coordinator working that case … .” The Coast Guard has a specific set of calculations that determines how long to search for someone missing in the water based on a person’s height, age, weight and other pertinent information. A calculation based on the water temperature is created of how long they can survive in the water.
At its peak, the search also involved a number of Air Force and Army assets, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and area sheriff’s offices and emergency response agencies. During the four-day search, Coast Guard air and boat crews spent more than 130 hours on scene and searched more than 4,909 square-nautical miles of the Gulf, using two 45-foot rescue boats, a helicopter and at least one cutter to try to find Condiff.