Boat Ramps Closed Along Chunky River

Investigators are hoping that by keeping boats off of the Chunky River, they will have an easier time locating a missing man.

Signs are posted at all boat ramps along the Chunky River in Lauderdale and Newton counties. Boat owners are being asked not to take their boats into the water until further notice. This as investigators continue to search for 56-year old Marcus Lavan Smith, more than six days after he disappeared. LEMA Director David Sharp says this is by far the hardest search he's been a part of.

"The Fish and Game went in there with hooks, with drags," Sharp says. "And they've pulled up everything but him. We're frustrated, we're tired."

Sharp says crews have even used sonar imagery. He says investigators have exhausted all possibilities and admits they are running out of options, but says they are not giving up.

"One of the biggest hindrances to us is the fact that it is in the middle of nowhere," Sharp points out. "I mean, you're talking about a mile and a half, two miles, we're having to drag boats through the woods and push them off a sand bank to get them in the river."

He says at this point, officials are in a recovery mode and not a rescue mode, but says crews will be on the river this weekend, looking for Smith.

"He may be under a log or a tree or something in the river," Sharp adds. "In that case, he may never come up."

Sharp tells Newscenter 11 that is still appears that hidden debris is to blame for the accident.


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