SABINE PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The search in Sabine Parish for a man whose truck was found idling on a Toledo Bend boat ramp Tuesday afternoon, his boat adrift, will resume Thursday morning.
An expanded effort to find and recover his body resumed at daybreak Wednesday with sonar equipment amid choppy conditions. “The wind picked up some this afternoon. It is gusty now and you never know what the current is doing under the surface,” said Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson.
According to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office, the search was called off shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday after dive teams searched 100 feet out in the water off the boat ramp on Tranquility Bay off of Highway 1215 and found no sign of the man, who is in his 70s.
According to Sabine Parish Deputy Ron Rivers, witnesses in the area became alarmed after they noticed the truck had been idling for a few hours with no one around and called the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office around 5 p.m. After searching the area and finding no sign of the man, they turned to concentrate their search in the water.
Police say he was launching the boat by himself, and the water is about 20 feet deep in the area they were searching. They also said they found his wallet, keys, and everything else inside the truck.
“We think the boat got away from him. He was coming back in from fishing and trying to launch it. We had a similar accident to occur in Converse a few months ago,” said Sheriff Richardson.
Agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries were called in to assist in the search, along with a dive team from the Central Sabine Parish Fire and Rescue and additional assistance from North Sabine Parish Fire and Rescue. By Wednesday morning, crews of Mansfield and Natchitoches had also joined in the search, along with members of the Cajun Navy.
The man has not been identified, but Rivers says he is from South Louisiana. He was believed to have been heading out to fish on Toledo Bend ahead of a tournament coming up this weekend.
Rivers says the boat wasn’t attached to a lead rope, and it’s possible the man drowned while attempting to retrieve it when it started to drift away.