UPDATE: Search Underway After Empty Boat Found
An empty boat was found near the bridge Friday morning.
[Update as of 3:43 p.m.]
The Coast Guard is searching near the Mount Hope Bridge after an empty dinghy was found Friday morning, reports The Providence Journal.
Police and fire have been searching the area since before 9 a.m. this morning.
An empty small boat was found around 8:30 a.m. off of Common Fence Point, according to Capt. Michael O'Brien, spokesman for the Portsmouth Fire Department.
The search will be called off after 2 a.m. Saturday morning if nothing is found, according to O'Brien. A University of Massachusetts (UMass) Dartmouth soccer jacket with the number "23" was found, according to a release from the Coast Guard.
Rescue crews believe the boat did have someone aboard at some point, O'Brien said.
A search began shortly thereafter. The Coast Guard is now asking for the public's assistance in the search.
Boats from at least six communities are aiding in the search, including Portsmouth, Bristol, East Providence, Warwick, Tiverton and Swansea Fire Departments.
Search boats belonging to the Coast Guard and Department of Environmental Management are also in the water for the search.
Crews from Portsmouth, Prudence Island and Bristol are conducting a shore search. The Coast Guard helicopter has also been conducting an aerial search.
Further information is unknown at this time.
Check back later today for more on this developing story!