Rescue and recovery workers to search under barge this afternoon for missing barge worker

Published 9:36 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The search for the body of Donny Mitchell, 50, will resume today at 1 p.m. when workers will move the barge near the area where he slipped into the Mississippi River on Tuesday morning.

At about 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Mitchell was attempting to leave the barge via a ladder to make his way to a walkway above at Buzzi Unicem USA’s terminal on L.E. Berry Road in Natchez when he fell into the river.

Witnesses worked to try to save him, tossing him a life preserver ring and trying to grab him with a drag hook, but were not successful.

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Personnel from Emergency Management, Adams County Search and Rescue, the Natchez Fire Department, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, as well as Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries have worked tirelessly to try to recover Mitchell’s body.

On Wednesday morning, Chops Wrecker Service brought its crane to the scene and used it to move driftwood that had piled up in the river at the area Mitchell went into the river.

Robert Bradford, director of Adams County Emergency Management, said if Mitchell’s body is not located today, the search will likely end for now.

“If we don’t have success tomorrow, we will contact the Coast Guard and put it out for all barge traffic on the river below us and the counties below us to be on the lookout,” Bradford said.