Search Continues For 3rd ID Fisherman - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Search Continues For 3rd ID Fisherman

Through the morning fog, search crews were back on the water. For the third day, they looked for the body of a fisherman whose boat capsized in the Altamaha River.

"We've got 5 boats on the river." explained Long County's Emergency Management Director Darrell Ballance. "We've got 3 sonar boats that are on the banks taking sonar trying to establish targets for the divers later today."

Late Tuesday, they thought they'd found those divers a target, but by daylight Wednesday, it was gone. "The way it is, the body could be moving on us and we not know it" Ballance noted.

Because the Altamaha flows so fast, they've widened their search down the river. Boats combed back and forth across the water. Searchers haven't released the victim's name but say he was a Third Infantry soldier, recently back home from Iraq.

"These guys faced danger everyday for the past year but its probably harder on the family members." stated LTC Jody Petery. He commands the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry. "There's a mother, a wife, some children out there that thought they'd made it. To lose a son, a father, a husband in a fishing accident during vacation is a bitter pill to swallow."

Volunteers have helped in the search, from manning the boats to feeding the team.

"I've worked drownings over the years and you get emotionally involved whether you know them or not." explained retired game warden Herman Wells.

Volunteer Ronnie DeLoach said he feels a connection to the soldier because his son remains in Iraq with the 48th Brigade. 

"His mother and father loved him like I love my son and I'd hope someone somewhere would do their best for him." he added.

Those on the bank and in the water say this is the least they can do for someone who served to protect his country. Searchers promise they'll work into the night, if necessary, and resume early Thursday morning.

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