Search called off overnight for missing boaters in Wildwood Park collision

Authorities plan to resume their search at dawn Saturday for at least two people missing after two boats collided near the Wildwood Park boat ramp Friday afternoon.

 

First responders were called to Wildwood Park around 3 p.m. Friday and authorities say one witness told police the boats collided while traveling at high rates of speed, Columbia County Sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said.

During the initial search Friday, four boats were searching a general area, according to Columbia County public relations manager Cassidy Harris.

One boat held the crew from Columbia County’s volunteer dive team, and the other three boats searched the area using sonar equipment. One boat present was from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the other two boats were from Columbia County, including the sheriff’s office, Harris said.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesman Stan Elrod, who spoke to the press after the conclusion of the search, said the wreckage from the collision would be included in the investigation as to what happened.

Morris said authorities have identified the boats’ owners but are not releasing names at this time.

The family of one of the missing persons has been contacted about the accident, according to Elrod, however authorities were still attempting to make contact with the family of the second person.

Authorities are unsure of the number of people involved, saying dive teams are searching for at least two people.

Boat ramps at Wildwood Park have been closed until further notice. The 36th annual Toys for Tots Open Team Bass Tournament, originally planned at the boat ramp, has been moved to Cherokee Park in Lincoln County.

 

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