DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. - The search for a missing teenager after a car was swept in floodwaters at Buck's Pocket State Park has turned into a recovery effort.
The recovery of 18-year-old Koy Spears will resume Tuesday. The search is suspended because of fast-moving water in the area.
Agencies and volunteer organizations from DeKalb, Jackson, and Marshall counties will resume the search efforts Tuesday morning. Alabama State Troopers and the state EMA office are also helping in the search. The plan is to search eight hours a day until they've exhausted all efforts. "The most important objective in this is to bring Koy home and to give the family peace," said park superintendent Michael Jeffreys, who is heading the search.
The call came in Friday evening that a Jeep got swept off the bridge at Buck's Pocket State Park. Crews started searching immediately.
Police say the teens live near the area and were swept into the South Sauty Creek.
Two teenagers, a male and female, managed to hang onto a tree until rescuers got them to safety.
Crews searched Friday night and all day Saturday for Koy Spears before the weather forced them to stop. On Sunday, responders searched by boat and air. Monday morning a helicopter scoured the area down the creek for any sign of the teen.
The water over the road at Buck's Pocket has gone down considerably since Friday evening, but it's moving so quickly and it's so dense responders had to suspend the search and recovery efforts for Koy until Tuesday.
"This area is really good about pulling together and helping each other," said Guntersville Rescue Squad President Martin Killion. That agency is one of the many that stepped up to help search over the weekend.
"When you take this much water, moving this fast with this much force, the debris that has come from the rain and everything else, it just multiplies it," Killion said. He added you have to constantly be aware of everything going on around you during a search like that.
The search efforts required increased safety measures for responders so they didn't get into a situation where they had to be rescued. "It takes a really large group of people to pull this off, and we're very fortunate in this area that we have a very large group of people scattered throughout three or four counties that will come together and work together at the drop of a hat," Killion said.
Koy's family said they're grateful for that and the prayers from the community. They're holding out hope Koy, who just turned 18, is alive, and thank the multitudes of people who have stepped up to help look for him.
Crews ask unless part of the search effort, please stay out of the search area.
If you have any information, contact your local authorities.