Severe Weather Halts Search For Missing Boater
HENRY CLAY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The search was put on hold for a man who went missing Saturday after a boating accident in Fayette County. Severe weather on Sunday afternoon forced crews to suspend their efforts.
For much of the day though, firefighters, divers and other emergency workers searched the waters of the Youghiogheny Lake near Confluence.
The missing boater was one of four people on board the vessel when it capsized.
The damaged speed boat was towed to shore after it was recovered from the lake just below the dam today.
“It was buried or sunk in about 30 feet of water, required an extensive effort to get out,” said Jan Gonzalez, of the Army Corps of Engineers.
On Saturday, four passengers were tossed into the water when the boat overturned.
Bill Gilmore, from Connellsville, saw the accident.
“I’d say he was going 75 to 80,” said Gilmore. “When it came around the bend, he caught a wake and what it did, it just flipped the boat. It just kept flipping until it went up in the air and it sunk straight down in the back.”
Three of the passengers were rescued, but the fourth person – a man from Cumberland, Md. – is still missing. Rescue workers and divers went back in the water searching for the victim, but they’re dealing with difficult conditions.
“The victim’s supposed to be in about, approximately 90 to 100 feet of water, which is a deep water dive and restricted on time that the divers can be under water,” Gonzalez said.
“The extreme heat is making it very difficult on the divers even though they’re in the water. If anybody’s familiar with how the sun reflects off the water it’s taking a toll on the divers and the personnel even on the shore,” added Ron Hostetler, the assistant chief of the Confluence Fire Department.
While the search for the missing boater continues, the Fish and Boat Commission is conducting an investigation to determine if speed was a factor in the accident.