Members of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) Dive Team have made a recovery in the search for a missing angler near Harris Boat Landing on the North Santee River in Georgetown County.
SCDNR was contacted Tuesday morning (6/29/2021) at approximately 8:30 a.m. after a truck and trailer were discovered still in position on the concrete ramp at the boat landing, with the truck’s engine still running and an overturned boat floating in the river. SCDNR officers responded to the call, along with Georgetown County Sherriff’s deputies. The SCDNR Dive Team was called to the scene, led by senior member Officer Ronnie Floyd. Team members Hunter Ellis, Rhett Bissell, and Ethan Adair assisted in the search. The body of an adult male presumed to be the boat’s operator was recovered at approximately 1:30 p.m. after about an hour of searching, said Officer Floyd, who made the recovery.
The body was found close to the spot where the boat had drifted to. The incident will be investigated as a boating accident, but based on the initial evidence at the scene, it appears that the man lost control of the small aluminum jonboat while launching it himself and attempted to swim out and retrieve it, said Floyd. The body was turned over to the Georgetown County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy is pending.
The men and women of the SCDNR’s “A.I.R” (Aquatic Investigations and Recovery) Team are sworn law enforcement officers specially trained in the use of diving gear. Team members participate in underwater searches for drowning victims and assist SLED and other law enforcement agencies with evidence recovery in criminal investigations in addition to their regular duties as state conservation officers in their home counties.