ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for a missing boater on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
According to Angelina County Game Warden Timothy Walker, a call came in around 8 p.m. Sunday of a missing person on Lake Sam Rayburn. The Game Warden said the boat of a man believed to have been fishing on the lake washed ashore, but he was not inside it.
Crews immediately began searching the lake, but the search was suspended around midnight.
Search crews returned and resumed looking for the man this morning. The Game Warden said crews are using side-scan sonar, a DPS helicopter, as well as members of Texas Equusearch to search for the man.
Walker said based on the evidence at this time, it appears the man may have been thrown from his boat.
“We believe what could have happened is perhaps he hit something, some hazard in the water because it was late. We understand that he came back in and then returned to go back out fishing about dark, so he could have hit something and was thrown from the boat and if you’re not wearing your kill switch then the boat will continue to stay in gear and continue to run. And so after a period, usually the boat will run aground. And so that’s what we think is what happened.”
Walker says they have narrowed the search into a specific cove between Black Forest Boat Ramp and Mud Creek.
“It’s pretty open. There will be some shallow areas with grass, but it’s certainly deep enough to run in. There’s not a whole lot of timber out there to hit, but the lake has been on the rise and, of course, in a lake you always have some underwater hazards that you can’t see. And at the time when we think the accident happened it was dark-thirty, so it was late," said Walker.
Searchers plan to stay at the location until nightfall.
“We have good reason to think if the boater’s body is in the lake, it could rise possibly today,” said Walker.
If not, searchers will return to the scene at daylight. A DPS helicopter may fly overhead for a second time in the morning if a body isn’t found.
This is a developing story. KTRE will continue to update you with any new information we receive.