SAVANNAH, TN (WSMV) — Officials confirmed Wednesday morning that the search for three missing fishermen in Pickwick Lake in Hardin County is now a recovery mission. A spokesperson with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said it is unlikely anyone survived.
Crews searching for three missing fishermen recovered the boat they were in Monday. It had extensive damage. TWRA says the boat was captured in a picture above the dam four days ago and they believe the boat went through the dam's flood gates. It was recovered below the dam near Savannah, but there was no trace of the boaters.
Water conditions near the dam are extremely dangerous; a lot of water is flowing through the river and dam right now, according to TWRA. They say the water flow, water temperature, and air temperature have led them to believe that there's no chance of survival.
While we don't know the names of the people on the boat, we do know they are part of the Obion Central High School fishing team competing at Pickwick Lake.
Two 15-year-olds and an adult chaperone, identified as 43-year-old Kenneth Driver, are missing. Driver is the father of one of the teens.
Amy Snider with TWRA says because conditions are so rough, they are turning away people who are volunteering to look for the boaters.
"One thing we do ask the public, is we appreciate all the offers from the volunteers, however, due to dangerous and hazardous conditions on a water raft, we ask volunteers to please stand down, and let the pros handle the search," said Snider.
Currently, there are 20 boats conducting searches on a 14-mile stretch of the river. TWRA says the boaters were wearing life jackets, as far as they know. The search efforts were suspended Monday at Dusk. They will pick up again Tuesday morning.