DMR says dead boaters were testing out repaired vessel - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

DMR says dead boaters were testing out repaired vessel

This is the boat ramp where the boaters were found (Image Source: WLOX News) This is the boat ramp where the boaters were found (Image Source: WLOX News)
Boaters say the boat launch is a popular fishing spot (Image Source: WLOX News) Boaters say the boat launch is a popular fishing spot (Image Source: WLOX News)
PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

We are learning more about the accidental drowning of two boaters in Pass Christian. Alphonze Dedeaux, 51, and Gerald Ellis, 56, were found dead by marine patrol divers early Wednesday morning, just a couple hundred yards from the Merlin Necaise Boat Launch.

Family members of the boaters reported them missing Tuesday evening, and soon after, several law enforcement agencies began their search.

"We deployed our dive team, and subsequently was able to locate one of the men in the water and eventually we located the second person in the water," said Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis.

The small skiff was found capsized about 200 yards from the boat launch.

"Family tells us they were refurbishing this vessel that they were on. They had been working on it for some time, and we did find evidence of that," said Davis.

According to Davis, no flotation devices were found near or around the capsized vessel.

"“When you are out on the water, things can change so quickly. You have to be prepared. You have to have the necessary safety equipment on board your vessels at all times and just be prepared for the unknown," said Davis.

Boaters say it is a highly utilized boat launch, and call it a prime spot for fishing. Paul Allen calls the accident unfortunate, and said it's a good reminder of the importance of wearing a life jacket.

"People got to be real careful when they get out there on the water. You just do it for so long you think nothing is going to happen, but you never know. It's just that one time things go wrong, you just have to always be alert when you're on the water," said Paul Allen.

Davis said they do not suspect any foul play, and are calling the drownings a tragic accident.

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