NO LUCK: Dive team ends search for missing man in river

Published 1:48 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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NATCHEZ — A dive team from Lafayette, Louisiana, has ended its search in the Mississippi River for Donny Mitchell, who fell into the river early Tuesday morning.

“They searched in the area where the sonar could not pick up, near the pylons, and didn’t find anything,” said Adams County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Shane Daugherty. “The current was way more than he thought it would be, and the water temperature is still in the 40s. You can only stay under for so long when you are diving at 20, 40, and 60 feet of water. There are a lot of cables, trees, and debris down there.”

Daugherty said Adams County Search and Rescue and Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries personnel would continue to patrol the river bank for the next several days, hoping Mitchell’s body will surface.

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At approximately 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Mitchell was making his way from a barge at Buzzi Unicem USA’s terminal on L.E. Barry Road using a ladder to reach a walkway above when he fell into the river. Witnesses tried tossing him a life preserver ring and tried to grab him with a drag hook but were unsuccessful.

Personnel with Adams County Search and Rescue, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries, Adams County Emergency Management, and Natchez Fire Department have worked diligently since to try to locate Mitchell’s body. All the while, Mitchell’s family members have watched from the river’s banks in anguish.

Buzzi paid to bring the dive team from D and D Diving in Lafayette to the scene today in hopes of locating Mitchell.