Rescuers search river for body - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rescuers search river for body

Telfair County-- Rescue teams from at least five counties are combing the Ocmulgee River, searching for the body of a 20-year-old South Georgia man who fell in Saturday. Kramer Royer fell from the front of the boat, family members said, and never surfaced.

Nearly a dozen boats and hundreds of volunteers and rescue team members have been searching the Ocmulgee River along the Telfair Coffee County line, section by section, looking for any sign of 20-year-old Kramer Royer.

"It's hard to go on until we get the body recovered," says his uncle Karl Dockery.

"We were called that a person had fallen off a boat, and we're always hoping we'll find them down the river somewhere, but after about 12 hours we know something bad has happened," says Charles White, assistant director of Telfair County EMA.

Authorities say Royer and a group of friends were boating along the river Saturday evening when he jumped off the front of a pontoon boat just as the driver began to move forward. They aren't sure whether he hit his head on the motor or drowned underneath the boat, but they do know he never surfaced.

"We feel like it's a hopeless case, but as long as there is a body to be found, we're going to stay out here supporting the family also," White says.

"We've done organized searches. We've used body drags, which are basically weighted triangles with hooks on them that are used to either grab a hold to some of the victim's clothing, or the victim itself," says Cpl. Johnny Ash of DNR.

The current has kept dive teams from being to able to completely search the three-mile area closed off along the river, so DNR rangers have also been using underwater cameras to help with the search. "As the water temperature warms up, the body will start to float a little bit more, and at least if we can recover the body it does give the family closure."

Still rangers say that could take up to four days, but they say they aren't going to give up until they find Royer, a gesture the family is extremely grateful for.

"There were over 16 boats in the water yesterday looking, and these people are concerned, and they are trying to do their very best, and hopefully we're going to have a resolution here soon," says Dockery.

Rangers have also been using cadaver dogs to help locate Royer's body. Officials say the incident is still under investigation.

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