Meridian Star

January 25, 2013

The search goes on

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Crews searching for the body of Marcus L. Smith came up empty Thursday and will resume the search operations this morning.

    David Sharp, executive director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, said Thursday afternoon they didn't have the sonar boat at the site Thursday because it was needed in Jackson. He hoped to get the boat with the sonar equipment back this morning to assist in the search operations.

    "We didn't find anything today and we will be back in the morning to start up again," said Sharp. "We are looking forward to getting the sonar back."

    The sonar will be used to create a picture of the underwater areas in which the crews believe Smith's body may be.

    Smith, 56, was in a canoe with two other men Saturday when it turned over into the swift, cold waters of the Chunky River near Stuckey Bridge. The two survivors were able to reach the bank but Smith was swept downriver the survivors told authorities. Sharp said searchers recovered the canoe and other items that were in the canoe. The items were scattered among fallen trees and other debris along the river banks.

    Lauderdale County volunteer firefighters, LEMA and Newton County Emergency Management Agency personnel, and officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are comprising the search crews.

    Sharp said the higher and swifter than normal water conditions are still giving crews problems and hampering the operation.