It is day two of a search of the Muskingum river for a Coshocton man who has been missing since the boat he was riding in capsized.
In only two weeks time, southeastern Ohio has seen more than 7 inches of rain and has caused significant flooding of local rivers and streams. Harsh flood conditions are extremely dangerous and are to blame for the flipping of a boat into the Muskingum River in Coshocton with three individuals on board. 53 year old Mark Walters is still missing.
"We are determining this as a recovery,” said Assistant Fire Chief of Conesville, Ty Stewart. “We are trying to limit our exposure to putting individuals out on the river, considering we have high water, and a very swift current right now after the rains that we have had.
Dealing with that higher volume of water, plus added debris, makes it very difficult for search boats to work and creates possible dangers for crews.
"We are taking our time and we are being as methodical as we can but still operating within an envelope of safety."
"We usually run the pilot, who drives the boat and two assistants,” said Guernsey County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Dale Lyons. “And the assistants down front, will do anything on the deck, for deck hand work, and also recovery and pulling over to the shore and also keeping an extra set of eyes for anything at water level that the driver of the boat doesn't see."
The current plan is day by day, choosing sections to search based on the flow of the river, continuing only during daylight hours.
"So at this point, we are kind of drawing on some past experience from individuals and just kind of taking that experience and project it forward to try to come up w a plan," added Stewart.
The three individuals on the boat were not wearing life jackets and Walters could not swim. Police officers advise to not attempt to be on rivers, creeks or streams during unfavorable flood conditions
"Right now, don't get on the water,” Lyons said. “Stay off the water. Common sense is the most major thing that can play into it and talk to the authorities around if you have any questions or have a doubt."
As of now, Walters has yet to be found