Crews to resume search Wednesday morning for missing swimmer in Lumber River

Crews to resume search Wednesday morning for missing swimmer in Lumber River

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The search for a swimmer who vanished in the Lumber River will resume Wednesday morning.

Crews with Horry County Fire Rescue and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources spent all day Tuesday searching for a 41-year-old swimmer.

Horry County police officers and HCFR were called around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday after reports came in that a swimmer had been swept away near Rice Field Cove on the Lumber River near Nichols.

Horry County crews continue to search for a swimmer who reportedly went missing early Tuesday morning on the Lumber River.
Horry County crews continue to search for a swimmer who reportedly went missing early Tuesday morning on the Lumber River. (Source: WMBF News)

We spoke with a woman who said the missing person is her husband. Melissa Thomas said they haven’t had power at their home for some time and her husband went out with friends for a late night swim to cool off just after midnight Tuesday.

“We were trying to have a fun night, trying to get away from the house," said Thomas. "Not think about our troubles for a little while but it turned out to be a tragedy I guess.”

Thomas said there were four of them at the landing Monday night. Their friend Mitch and her husband were the only two to go in the water.

She said after he jumped in the water she heard him call for help. Thomas also said her friend Mitch tried to get him in but couldn’t hold on.

“I kinda blame myself too because I didn’t jump in to try and help him," said Thomas. “I’m not a good swimmer, I can swim a little bit, I said, but ya’ll might have been coming to the search for two bodies instead of one.”

Dwayne Rogers, the dive team supervisor with the SCDNR, said there wasn’t a strong current in the area where the swimmer went under and the water is between 10 and 13-feet deep.

“Once a person takes in water into their lungs, they sink immediately. It’s like they go straight to the bottom. They very seldom move off of that spot," Rogers explained. "The only time they really move from there is if it’s really deep there and there’s a really strong current. It may sweep them down current maybe 10-15 feet depending on how strong the current is.”

Divers, along with people on boats, searched the area above and under water, using different tactics like sonar technology in hopes of finding the missing swimmer.

“Once we exhausted that, we put divers in the water and went to that jack stay system and basically it’s a grid search, you have a line across the bottom. You swim down the line, you move it over, you swim back up the line and you move it over. You can’t miss anything doing it that way," Rogers said.

Check back with wmbfnews.com as we continue to get updates on the search for the missing swimmer.

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