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Captain of rescue freighter: Nathan Carman ‘looked in normal condition’

HARTFORD - The captain of the freighter that rescued a Middletown native said that the man who said he spent eight days lost at sea in a raft was concerned about his missing mother.

Nathan Carman, 22, of Vernon, Vermont, and his mother, Linda Carman, 54, of Middletown, were reported missing while on a fishing trip on Sunday, September 18. They left from South Kingstown, R.I. in Nathan's 31-foot aluminum boat. State, local and federal law enforcement authorities are still investigating the incident but the Coast Guard has suspended the search for Linda, who is now presumed dead.

The cargo ship, the Orient Lucky, is now docked at Port Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada.

Through port agent, Tom O'Reilly, who spoke with Fox61 over the phone, Capt. Zhao Hengdong said one of his crew members spotted the orange of Carman's life raft off in the distance on a clear and fairly calm day, Sunday, September 25.

"When they spotted him, he was yelling and waving his hands," O'Reilly said Capt. Hengdong told him.

When the ship got close enough, the crew immediately threw a life ring into the water to pull Carman aboard. As Carman was helped up the gangway, his legs were shaky, likely due to days confined in the life raft.

"He asked if the captain had spotted his mother," O'Reilly said.

Carmen spent the next couple of days aboard the Orient Lucky which eventually sailed into the Port of Boston on Tuesday, September 27.

"The captain just said his mood was, he was very sad that he had indeed lost his mother," O'Reilly said. "He was kind of walking around with his head down."

Police have searched Nathan Carman's Vermont home under suspicions about his account of the sinking of his boat. He said these suspicions are compounding his grief over the apparent drowning of his mother.

Documents reveal Nathan was also a suspect in the unsolved murder of his grandfather, but was never charged.