Search for missing Tennessee boaters on Pickwick Lake now a recovery effort

Shoals

The Tennessee River flows through Pickwick Dam on Feb. 25, 2020. (TWRA photo)

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s wildlife agency says three boaters who have been missing for several days after a weekend fishing tournament are no longer believed to be alive.

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency spokeswoman Amy Snider-Spencer said in a Facebook message Wednesday that the search for two 15-year-old boys and a 43-year-old man has moved from a rescue operation to a recovery effort.

Obion County Director of Schools Tim Watkins told news outlets that the three were part of a high school fishing team and had been on the water Saturday for a tournament. He said they were reported missing Sunday night after not returning home.

Their boat was recovered with extensive damage.

High water levels have been a problem for search crews since they began their search earlier this week.

“Rain is the problem that we’ve had. It’s put a lot of water behind the dam, which means a lot of water coming through the dam. So rain equals more volume and we sure don’t want that,” Snider Spencer told WKRN.

Snider-Spencer says the damage, high water flows, and low water and air temperatures have led officials to believe there’s no chance of survival.

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