TWRA transitions to search and recovery operation for missing boaters

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HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has transitioned to a search and recovery operation for three boaters reported missing late Sunday night at Pickwick Lake. Several factors have led to the decision to change the operation. 

The Stratos bass boat containing 43-year old Kenneth Driver and two 15-year-old boys was last seen Saturday on a picture captured above Pickwick Dam. Due to the extensive damage to the boat recovered Monday morning near the Savannah bridge, water flow, water temperature, and air temperature have led TWRA to transisition to recovery operations.

Twenty boats and 70 volunteers searched 50 miles of the Tennessee River on Wednesday.  Units conducted surface scans and grid searches using side-scan sonar in attempts to locate the missing boaters.  Over the last three days TWRA, Hardin County Fire Department, Sumner County EMA, Decatur County Rescue, Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, Henry County Rescue, Henderson County Rescue, and EMA, Lake County Sheriff, Humphreys County Sheriff, Carroll County Rescue, Chester County Rescue, Samburg Fire Department, Obion County Rescue, Fayette County Sheriff’s, TEMA, TVA Police, and Pickwick State Park staff, Jackson Police Department Aviation Unit, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter have assisted with searching for the missing boaters on the Tennessee River near Pickwick Dam.

 TWRA is asking for only established volunteers for search efforts on Thursday.  No further volunteers are needed. Established volunteers should check-in at the command post at Botel Road.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the 20-foot bass boat was last seen in a picture taken above the dam on Saturday, Feb. 22, between 8 and 8:30 a.m.  The three occupants and the 20-foot bass boat went through the floodgates at Pickwick Dam.   Search efforts are concentrated on a 14 mile stretch the Tennessee River for the missing boaters.  The three persons were reported missing after the fishermen failed to return from an Obion County club bass tournament. 

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