Boat recovered in search for fishermen in Hardin County; 2 teens, adult still missing

Posted at 5:43 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 21:47:34-05

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Crews recovered a boat in the search for three missing boaters, including two Obion County Central High School students, in Hardin County. The three fishermen have not been located.

The search resumed at 8 a.m. Monday morning for the two 15-year-old boys and the 43-year-old man.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency said the bass boat belonging to them was recovered Monday morning on the Tennessee River below the dam, located near Savannah. They said the boat went through the floodgates and was extensively damaged.

Tim Watkins, the Director of Schools for Obion County, said the three were part of a high school fishing team and had been on the water Saturday for a tournament. According to wildlife officials, they were not reported missing until 9 p.m. Sunday.

Watkins said their boat had engine problems before the competition started, preventing them from leaving the dock with the rest of the competitors. Tennessee River Valley News says it was believed they took the boat out of the water and went home; however, it was later determined they went ahead and tried to compete.

"We were notified late Sunday that they had not returned home. Authorities were notified and a search has been started. I ask everyone to pray that these students and the parent are found safely. I also ask for prayers for their families and the students and staff of Obion County Schools in this time of uncertainty," Watkins said.

TWRA, Hardin County Fire Department, Sumner County EMA, Decatur County Rescue, Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, TVA Police, and Pickwick State Park staff assisted in the search.

Due to hazardous water conditions, the search was suspended at dusk. The search will resume Tuesday morning.

Emergency managers requested that they limit volunteers to those from Obion County who are experienced boat operators, due to the overwhelming response of volunteers. They said boaters should be prepared for swift water conditions and inclement weather. Checkin will begin at 7:30am Tuesday at the Botel ramp off Wharf Road in Hardin County.