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Authorities Find “Wicked Tuna” Star Charlie Griffin Dead With Dog in North Carolina Outer Banks

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North Carolina authorities have confirmed the death of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” cast member Charlie “Griff” Griffin. The reality TV star reportedly died in a boating accident “unrelated to the series,” according to a statement from National Geographic and Pilgrim Media Group.

A picture of Charlie Griffin
Source: HuffPost/X

The US Coast Guard’s North Carolina Command received a report of two overdue boaters late on Sunday, March 3, 2024. Authorities later identified them as 36-year-old Chad Dunn and 65-year-old Charlie Griffin. According to a US Coast Guard release, the two left Virginia Beach en route to a Manteo, NC, marina for repairs.

After days of searching in the ocean for a missing boat, the coast guards found a person and a dog. However, the two were dead off the coast of North Carolina. Afterward, friends and family confirmed the victims, found near the Oregon Inlet, as Charlie Griffin and his dog Leila.

“It is with the deepest sadness we report that Charlie Griffin and his beloved dog, Leila, have passed away in a boating accident today, March 4th,” the Facebook post read. “Please keep family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. We will forever remember Griff!”

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Although they found Griffin and his dog Leila dead, the search for Dunn continued for almost two days. However, the Coast Guard suspended the search off the coast of Oregon Inlet, NC, on Tuesday, March 5. “We searched for 41 hours and conducted 12 search patterns,” US Coast Guard Cmdr. Corrie Sergent said. 

“And covered approximately 400 miles by air, sea, and onshore with our local partners to find Chad and bring him home.” “It is one of the hardest decisions to call off a search,” Sergent added. “And we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragic event.”

In 2014, “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” went on various voyages. It featured several captains sailing to capture tuna along the Outer Banks in North Carolina. During the competition, captains tried to catch as many tuna fish as possible to win a cash prize.

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One tuna could be worth more than $20,000. However, weather conditions, treacherous waters, and intense rivalries added to the fun in the 60-minute episodes. Furthermore, the show followed their journeys through the “graveyard of the Atlantic,” according to National Geographic.

Griffin was the captain of the fishing vessel Reels of Fortune. He appeared in Seasons 2 through 5 of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” with his son Jake. Hence, following his tragic death, the channel issued a statement. “Charlie was a spirited fisherman with a big heart,” the statement read. “We join Charlie’s family, fellow cast members, and friends in mourning his untimely loss.” 

Similarly, Dare County Commissioner Steve House pays tribute to Griffin in a touching post. “A very sad day for our fishing community,” House wrote in a Facebook post. “Capt. Charlie Griffin has passed away from a boating accident at Oregon Inlet.”

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“His humor and knowledge will be sadly missed,” House added. “He helped make the OBX even more famous with his time on Wicked Tuna OBX.” The County Commissioner said, “Tight lines and fair seas, my friend.” Besides House, several others remember Charlie Griffin as a fun guy whose life ended abruptly.

According to the Coast Guard, visibility was only a little over half a mile, seas were 4-6 feet, and winds were 10-15 knots when they reported the men missing.

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