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Coast Guard continues search late Sunday for missing kayaker

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The U.S. Coast Guard kept up a search into the night late Sunday for a missing 55-year-old kayaker who was apparently swept up in a tugboat’s wake and capsized near Pier 80 earlier in the day.

Coast Guard spokesman Ensign Mark Leahey said his agency was searching a dry dock near the pier where Thomas Gregoire was last seen at about 2:50 p.m., as well as the surrounding area. The pier is located on The City’s Central Waterfront area near the Dogpatch neighborhood.

“At this point the search is still going on, and we just hope we can find him,” Leahey said at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Gregoire was part of a small group of kayakers who had gone to Candlestick Point earlier in the day and were returning when the accident occurred, police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said.

Gregoire’s kayak got too close to a tugboat in the area and “got caught in the wash,” Manfredi said. The kayak is believed to have capsized, he said.

Gregoire is a former city resident who now lives in Berkeley, according to Manfredi.

The Coast Guard, Fire Department and Police Department searched the area with boats, a helicopter and dive team earlier in the day to no avail. But Leahey said the Coast Guard was not ready to presume Gregoire was dead.

“There’s a lot of places someone could still be alive,” Leahey said. “He might have drifted off, and no one noticed it.”

aburack@sfexaminer.com