Missing Clay County boater found safe

Staff Writer

A Clay County man may have gotten a little more Father's Day peace and quiet than he intended.

The man, who Emergency Management Director Torrey Williams described as being in his 30s from the eastern part Clay County, set out on the Tenn-Tom Waterway at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday but had mechanical trouble with the motor on his small John boat.

By 5:45 p.m. his family had become concerned when they hadn't heard from him or been able to reach him on his phone.

They called Clay County E-911, which in turn alerted Emergency Management and others.
That quickly got state fish and game agents, the Corps of Engineers, volunteer firefighters from the South East, Tibbee and Northeast Clay volunteer fire units, sheriff's deputies, West Point firefighters, Columbus Fire and Rescue and other agencies in action to mount a search, Williams said, noting poor cell phone service along the river in the Tibbee Creek area made it more difficult to pinpoint the man and the situation more dire.

At about 7 p.m., the man and his boat were found in Tibbee Creek. He was safe and doing fine, he told his rescuers, and after being quickly checked by paramedics at the Tibbee Boat Ramp, tied up his boat and left with family members, Williams said.

His relatives were able to tell searchers the man put in at the Spring Creek ramp and likely would be between there and the Waverly ramp, which is where searches were concentrating, the new EMA director explained.

"It's always good when it turns out like this. You fear the worst when you get a call like this," Williams stated.