Search Continues For Missing Fisherman - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Search Continues For Missing Fisherman

BAY ST. LOUIS (WLOX) -- One by one friends and family members are making the trip from Picayune to Bay St. Louis hoping that search crews will bring good news about the search for 44-year-old Lee McWilliams.

"We're going to continue to stand as a family and hold that hope," said Rozalind Magee.

Magee is the sister of the missing boater, and she says through the tears, faith is what's holding this family together.

"Somewhere in my heart, the Lord has not given me that fear of saying that my brother will not come back. He has not given me that, and no weapons formed against us shall prosper," Magee said. "I just want to say to everyone that may be watching, to pray with us as we pray for him."

What started out as a day of fishing turned into hours of search and rescue. Just like any other Saturday, Lee McWilliams, his fiance and two other relatives decided to go out on the Mississippi waters.  When the winds increased, their boats flipped over. Only two of the four boaters were wearing life jackets, and Lee wasn't one of them.

This family is not giving up hope that the 44-year-old will survive the Mississippi waters.

Aiynna McWilliams is the only daughter of the missing fisherman.

"It was like father like daughter, then like brother like sister. We were just that close," said McWilliams.

The 19-year-old visited her father early Saturday morning. She never dreamed it may have been the last time she saw him alive.

"It's heartbreaking, but I don't want to give up right now," McWilliams said.

The Coast Guard along with several other search teams are fighting against time to try and find Lee McWilliams. Petty Officer Justin Boes says Saturday afternoon someone spotted the boaters swimming for their lives after their boat capsized near the Bay Bridge.

"They're concentrating their search on the north side of the bridge because where the boat went down was on the north side. The current and the wind would have pushed things to the north. It would be unlikely that the person would have come south," Boes said. 

24 hours into the search for a missing fisherman and rescue crews are not giving up hope.  Boes says they are remaining optimistic.

"You can never put a timeline or a weight on somebody's survivability and somebody's will to live," Boes said. "The water temperature is not too cold. It's between 60 and 62 degrees, and your survivability is a lot better the warmer the water is."

The search stopped around 6 p.m. Sunday evening.  Searchers are looking at the situation to determine whether the search will resume or be suspended.

By Elise Roberts

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