Search continues for drowned fire chief - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Search continues for drowned fire chief

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

January 11, 2008

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, GA (WALB) - It's been more than three weeks and counting since a search was launched to find the former City of Douglas fire chief Jimmy Porter.

The 67-year-old fell off of his jet ski not too far from his cabin on the Oconee River, and hasn't been seen since.

It's been 22 days since the search began for Former City of Douglas fire Chief Jimmy porter, Officials are now calling it a search and recovery mission, and continue the arduous task to find him.

A team of close to 20 from south central Georgia counties has been on these waters searching for Porter.

Setting lines in the water to make sure his body doesn't flow down river.

"We are treating it as a search and recovery mission at this time," said Lynn Moore, Toombs County EMA Dir.

"We just keep searching the river dragging, diving and using sonar we hadn't come up with nothing yet," said Sheriff Clarance Sanders, Montgomery County.

The team said Porter's body could be logged under something in the water.

"We actually have a forestry bulldozer on the bank, we have divers attaching chains and ropes to logs in hopes to un-lodge him or dislodge him."

Water levels have drooped more than ten feet since porter fell in, which they say is good for the search efforts.

But the current on the Oconee is also an obstacle for rescuers.

"It's a mixture of things, if the water level drops it means it's not flowing as fast. That means he might not break loose if he's logged under something, but on the other hand it's less water to look for him in," said

A witness saw Porter make a circle in the river with his Jet Ski, when he hit one of the waves that the turn created, it knocked him off.

The sheriff says the team and the community have been very supportive.

"They've been a lot of good people here and they are really putting their hearts into it," said

At dawn Monday morning they will suit up again to head into the waters to find Jimmy Porter.

"Weather he comes up or is stuck on the bottom I don't think they're going to give up and I'm certainly not," said Sanders.

The hope is they won't have to ride these waves of uncertainty much longer.

Search crews had cadaver dogs at the search location on Saturday.

The search crew said all three dogs hit in the same area which leads them to believe he is not too far from where the incident happened.

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