All efforts exhausted, but dive team search continues for 23-year-old male

CSRA News

It has been a few days as the search continues for 23-year-old Marquez Bey’s body at Pointes West Army Resort.

The incident happened on Saturday when another boat’s wake flipped over his canoe.

Stationed for hours on end, dives team have not given up. It takes a team, many days, and long hours.

The search area is about 640 acres. Columbia County Fire Rescue has their work cut out for them.

Columbia County Fire Rescue Dive Team Captain, Mike Chambers, says, “the situation we have here is pretty much one square mile search area because the persons in the boat that survived the canoe turnover drifted for a while.”

With Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Colonel Thomas Barnard, says, “when a boat is out lets say 300-400 yards away from someone, that wake doesn’t dissipate once it leaves a vessel, so you’re liable to have a 2 or 3 ft. wake for quite a distance and it even continues until shore.”

Diving down 40 feet deep, there is only so much they can see underwater.

“The lake here, there’s not much diving in the ocean, of course. There is not a lot to see,” says Captain Chambers.

With only about four to five to see in front of them, these divers need to watch their every move.

“The bottom of the lake is very silty. If you are not watching your buoyancy as a diver, if you crash the bottom than it just mushrooms out and silts up,” says Captain Chambers.

That would give the team almost nothing to see, which is why some members don’t dive. Instead, they use monitoring equipment, like side scan sonars and sector scans.

“We have an ROV on board the vessel, as well, and that’s a remote operated vessel, and on that there are actual floodlights. So, we can swim that down to verify if it’s actually what we’re looking for or not,” says Colonel Barnard.

Divers say a lot of the time they find objects like tree stumps and branches.

“That’s an unforgiving environment, even for a diver to go into, much less the equipment that you’re using as well,” says Colonel Barnard.

Georgia DNR and the Columbia County Fire Rescue says with less boat traffic, the water has more clarity, and every moving part makes a difference.

Authorities say they have exhausted all of their resources, but have not given up the search.

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