Search for Alabama fishermen now with salvage attempts

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Local law enforcement and the Alabama Marine Patrol worked all weekend to locate a 63-year-old man missing after a boating accident.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) said a man remains missing after a maritime-related incident about 11:04 a.m. Saturday. Officials said a 63-year-old man, who has not yet been formally identified, and his grandson were thrown from their boat after an accident.

The Colbert County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and Marine Patrol said during a news conference Monday that the search is now a recovery mission.

Corporal Robert Ping of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says the weather is a lot better today than it has been in recent days, so they’ll be taking full advantage.

Today, authorities said they will be patrolling much of the Tennessee River with sonar and will continue to survey shorelines as well. There are about 8 different agencies all working together in this effort.

Once they find promising signs, they will deploy the dive team to survey the area.

Search efforts began on Saturday and the grandson has been located and is safely reunited with his family, but the older fisherman has not yet been located.

Rescue workers resumed their search for the missing person around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Despite the weather, they were able to send out boats in hopes of finding him.

Among the seekers was ALEA, the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office. Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office and several other local authorities.

Colbert County Sheriff Eric Balentine says they are working around the clock to find the man.

“Well, the bad weather makes it difficult because the divers don’t get in the water when it’s raining really hard,” he said, “and it’s difficult to get in the water in the ships with open weirs . So that makes it really difficult and we don’t want to put them in any more danger than they already are… we would work around the clock until that recovery occurs.”

Colbert County Emergency Management Agency director Micheal Smith said search efforts were suspended as of 5 p.m. Sunday due to sunset.

He said the plan is to resume efforts on Monday morning, which he says will likely be the best-weather day search teams have had yet.