Two Boaters Presumed Dead In Jackson County

The Coast Guard, the Jackson County Sheriff's Flotilla and other authorities are still looking for two missing boaters who are now presumed dead as of Wednesday night. A third man in the boat survived.

He says last night they were in a ninteen foot boat traveling south near the Highway 90 Bridge on the West Pascagoula River. The boat suddenly lurched to the side, and threw everyone out. The one man made it to shore, but Officials say chilly water conditions probably affected the men's ability to swim to safety.

The search for the two missing men began about an hour after the accident and went late into the night. Family members kept a vigil along the water's edges, waiting for some good news but braced for the worst. At sun rised this morning, the water tempature was 42 degrees. Crews began the search again but soon changed their focus from rescue to recover. Search dogs lead crews to two possible spots just a few hundred yards off shore. Swimming three hundred yards in those conditions is a chore. Its a whole lot further than what it looks. A good physically healthy person would not have much more than an hour in those conditions being wet.

The overturned boat was recovered early on and family members say a major steering problem could have caused the accident. Walter Chataginer with the Marine Resources said, "They started to cross the deep water and the motor come lose and the motor kicked over to one side and throw them out in the water. None of the people were wearing life jackets and possibly if they had been wearing them we would not be here today."

Authorities have not released the names of the other men in the boat with him. The Coast Guard tells us the search may be suspended later tonight... and resume again in the morning.