Local News

Rescuers Still Searching for Missing Man at Jordan Lake

Posted May 17, 2007
Updated May 18, 2007

— Crews continued their search Friday to no avail for a missing man who was last seen swimming off a boat near Jordan Lake's Seaforth Beach and boat-launch area.

North Chatham Fire Chief Mark Riggsbee said five men had been in a boat Thursday at about 5:15 p.m. when they decided to jump into the water more than 100 feet from shore.

A short time later, they noticed that the man who had been driving the boat, Jamie Burney, 36, of Ramseur, N.C., was missing.

Officials don't think Burney, who was partially paralyzed, was wearing a life jacket. They think alcohol might have been a factor in the incident.

Murky water prevented divers from from seeing anything Thursday. Boats from several fire departments were brought in to drag the lake.

About 50 people searched Friday using boats, drag ropes, underwater cameras and sonar before calling it off at about 6 p.m. because of wind and choppy waters.

Crews were set to resume their search Saturday morning.

The Seaforth area of the park is south of U.S. Highway 64 in the Chatham County portion of the park, whose headquarters carry an Apex address.


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  • ScottK May 20, 2007

    Being an avid boater on Jordan and several other bodies of water, everyone needs to understand this - all boats regardless of size are responsible for their wake. Speed does not matter unless a limit is posted, it's possible to run your boat on plane and cause very little wake, or plow through the water slowly and swamp a johnboat easily. This also means the wake against the shoreline.

    During summer, the Coast Guard Aux is out there every other weekend. You can hail them on VHF16 call sign "Jordan Lake Radio" or "Coast Guard Auxillary Radio" if you see an incident or very irresponsible boating happening. They can get the local Wildlife officer involved for ticketing.

    I sure hope they find this man so his family can have closure and more lake users will learn from this unfortunate event.

  • Steve Crisp May 20, 2007

    "You may also want to read the online article written by News 11... They asked more questions."

    Which brings us right back the the whole crux if this issue and discussion. What is the responsibility of a news organization to properly obtain and disseminate information? How much information needs to be obtained and how timely should be its release?

    I happen to think that WRAL did not do a very good job in covering this particular story. They left out a lot of information, the relsease of which would not have compromised anything. Did they not ask the questions necessary, or was that information withheld for some reason? Given what WRAL and others have subsequently released, I see nothing that authorities would have needed to withhold. So I have to tentatively conclude that WRAL dropped the ball on this story.

    And that's all I've been driving at the whole time. The bigger issue is, if they (or any news organization) drops the ball, how often do they do it? Just how much can we trust?

  • Steve Crisp May 20, 2007

    And why am I ignorant when it is WRAL that is using the wrong terminology? The phrase is "search and rescue". When all hope is lost, the term used is "recovery." These are not my terms, but ones established by various official agencies themselves.

  • Rescuer1506 May 19, 2007

    You may obtain a complete incident report at the conclusion of the incident. Tony Tucker, Director

    919.542.2811, Ext. 260 ... Mr. Tucker is the Chatham County Emergency Operations manager. Contact him at the number above. The report will be rather long, so please allow 5-7 seven days after the incident has concluded for a complete report. That is paid for by the public. That is the information you are privy to and welcome to review. You may also want to read the online article written by News 11... They asked more questions.

  • Steve Crisp May 19, 2007

    Bad analogy, Rescuer1506. My medical records are private if for no other reason than I pay for them and can dictate their disposition. Police and fire records are paid for through public funds and should be as transparant as possible. Certainly there are many instances where information must be kept secret, on-going criminal investigations come to mind. But many times I have seen police and fire officials remain mum concerning details that have no reason to remain secret. In a lot of those cases (not all, but alot) the reason for secrecy has been to cover up mistakes or malfeasance. Unfortunately, if they are not talking, there is no way for the public to discern if the silence is a function of legitimate privacy/investigation or a coverup.

    In this particular story, how hard would have been for rescue to say that they suspected the victim was not alive and that all personal information about him and the circumstances of his disappearance were being temporarily withheld?

  • Rescuer1506 May 19, 2007

    ... Not only am I a Firefighter/EMT, but I am also an Air Force reservist. I risk my life EVERYDAY so you can have your freedom to "Speak you mind, no matter how spiteful or ignorant you feel in a given day". Do us all a favor and be a man... admit your comments are off color, and blog with real questions or factual statements. I'm tired... I'm sun and wind burned and somewhat frustrated... there are 45 others that feel the same way I do. There is a family missing a loved one, and kids without a father. Sorry the media didn't report the "whole story"... and from the last update, I guess this topic isn't good news anymore... Oh well I do know one thing, I have someone else that needs my help tomorrow. Good night all, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

  • Rescuer1506 May 19, 2007

    To search: to look for something lost. Recovery vs. Rescue: Recovery - to remove remains; Rescue: to save a life. During recovery - risk a little to save a little; during rescue - risk a lot to save a lot (put you life on the line for another). Crisp, your ignorance is a disgrace to all the men and women who risk there life for the good of others. Your right, we don't release ALL the information to the public. This is for the same reason I cannot go to your doctor an read your medical records -- It's private and privileged. You do not have the right to know everything, and actually you really don't want to know everything when it comes to incidents like this. I don't even want to know some of the details I know. If you want more details join a fire department and I will see you at the next one... at 0400 in the morning, or on your birthday, or kids graduation, or your aniversary.... I've got more....

  • scfair May 19, 2007

    The bottem line is that they still have to find this guy. He might be in the lake or he might be on land by now. Like twinkiemb said, "You have to respect the water".

  • Made In USA May 19, 2007

    Last year we had the same thing happen at the same area of the lake. I do a lot of small-craft boating on Jordin. I am always having to keep an eye out for a surprising wave in this area of the lake. It is a very dangerous part of water...very similar to where the two river arms meet in front of the dam. Boats go by at a distance and the next thing you know you have a mini-tidal wave coming from nowhere. Very dangerous, especially while standing and fishing in a small boat. Another issue on Jordin is when larger boats purposely create a wake near a small boat and the driver turns around and proudly watches his deadly waves rock away at the small craft. A law should be created to give smaller boats some protection from this kind of behavior. My heart goes out to the family of the missing person.

  • patriot May 19, 2007

    You still at it Crispy???? I thought we went all through this yesterday. You seem to be irritating people again today, time for your medicine.