Authorities search lake for missing man

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Law enforcement and rescue services are searching for the bodyof a Hazlehurst man who disappeared beneath the surface of WilliamsLake Monday afternoon.

Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said theapproximately 55-year-old man was fishing with his wife from a boaton the western portion of the lake around 2:30 p.m. Monday when hefell overboard and vanished.

Authorities are not releasing the man’s name.

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“We don’t really know if he lost his balance or what. But hefell overboard and never came back up,” Galey said.

New Sight Volunteer Fire Department Chief Orlando Little saidthe victim’s wife told authorities he bent over to pick up theboat’s trolling motor and fell into the water.

“He had to have lost his balance and fell over,” said Little,whose department assisted with the search Monday.

As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, several agencies were preparing toresume searching the bottom of the lake. At that point, the victimhad been under water for 18 hours.

Cadaver dogs from the Jones County Sheriff’s Department will betaken out to sniff around the surface of the lake while divers fromthe McComb Fire Department will search below. Galey said the manfell overboard in an area of the approximately 250-acre lake thatis about 20 feet deep.

“We started in the area where we think there’s a possibility,and the dogs can hopefully tell us where the area is we need tosearch,” he said.

Agencies responding to the lake also included the Lincoln CountySheriff’s Department, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency,Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and severalLincoln County volunteer fire departments.

Williams Lake is a private lake located on Highway 51approximately 6 miles north of Brookhaven.