TWRA, local crews resume search for man after canoe found overturned on South Holston Lake

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) –   A search for a missing Tri-Cities man resumed Monday morning. Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said the search for a missing man turned into a recovery operation over the weekend as they combed both in and around the area of South Holston Lake.

Accordingwebpiccanoe1 to TWRA spokesperson Matthew Cameron, 41-year-old James Matthew Ragan was first reported missing by his girlfriend Saturday morning.

Cameron said Ragan’s girlfriend reported she dropped him off to go camping at South Holston Lake around noon on Thursday.

She told officials she became concerned when she didn’t hear from him by Saturday.

TWRA officials said Sunday’s searches were unsuccessful and were discontinued after 5:00 p.m. According to TWRA Lead Investigator Matt Swecker, the rescue squad will plan on being on the lake Monday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. to continue recovery efforts.

“We are pretty confident he is probably in the water, we brought out our boating investigator today, he has a remote operated vehicle called an ROV. We are focusing on areas where we think he may be, but the problem here is we have an extremely large search area. Praying for the victim for his family for our rescuers and just hoping for a speedy recovery at this point,” Cameron said.

Sullivan County EMA Director Jim Bean said they resumed their search Sunday morning.

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“We’ve got sonar units, we’ve got underwater cameras along the sonar units, and K-9 teams that are all searching in and around the water,” Bean said.

Bean said they will continue to search again until nightfall.

“We will work until right up to dark, it gets too dangerous after dark especially when we are in recovery mode and not rescue,” Bean said.

Cameron said a canoe was found overturned in the lake with fishing gear on board, about 300 yards away from where Ragan’s campsite was set up, but as of Sunday investigators said the canoe could have drifted with the winds and current on the lake.

Stay with News Channel 11 as we continue to follow this developing story.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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