Two dead, one missing, one survives boating incident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — Two men are dead and another one is missing after their boats capsized in the Mississippi River Tuesday night. A fourth man escaped the accident alive.

The accident happened between 10:30 and 11 p.m., when the men were fishing in the Mississippi River near the mouth of the Homochitto River in the Sibley area, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Maj. Lane Ball said.

The four men were in two boats, and as they were crossing the river both boats were swamped because of high winds and waves on the water, Ball said.

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“One of the men was able to make it over to the bank on the Mississippi side of the river, and the other three were in the water,” Ball said.

The survivor, Jason Snyder of Krotz Springs, La., was rescued on a sandbar, Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

The body of one of the men was recovered in the general area of the accident, and another was found approximately 10 miles downstream, Ball said.

The two confirmed dead are Michael Shane O’Connor, 34, and Nolton Sitting III, 31, both of Krotz Springs.

Search efforts by the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and local volunteers continued all day Wednesday into the evening to locate the man who was unaccounted for, Mack Kemp, 27, of Krotz Springs.

“We are hopeful that the third man somehow made it to land somewhere and is waiting on us to find him,” Ball said. “We will continue on and pray that something will come up.”

The search effort included the use of the ACSO helicopter, Adams County Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office was also assisting in the search, Maxwell said.