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Search continues for man believed drowned in Jordan Lake

Posted May 12, 2013
Updated May 13, 2013

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— Crews resumed their search Monday for a Chatham County man who fell into Jordan Lake on Sunday while out boating with his family.

Firefighters said Ricky Hill, 50, of Siler City, is presumed dead and that the search is now a recovery mission. The mission got under way about 8:30 a.m. and ended about 5:30 p.m. It will begin again Tuesday morning.

"There are so many variables that take place out here with the water temperature, the wind, current," said Sgt. Reggie Barker of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. "But we're not quitting, and we're going to keep searching."

Deputy Chief Mark Riggsbee, with the North Chatham Volunteer Fire Department, said Hill and another family member were on an inner-tube that was being pulled by a boat when he fell into the water around 3 p.m. Sunday and never resurfaced.

Hill was at the lake with his wife and grandchildren. Alcohol was not a factor, and there were no boating violations, Barker said.

He said Hill was not wearing a life jacket but knew how to swim and had no known medical problems.

Authorities were called Sunday to the Vista Point boat ramp on North Pea Ridge Road in Pittsboro, where divers and crews using underwater sonar searched for Hill until nightfall.

The portion of the lake is as deep as 18 feet, Riggsbee said.

Searchers on Monday were helped by sniffer dogs, including two brought in from Fayetteville that are specially trained in water recovery. Ten to 15 agencies were involved in the search.

The family did not want to speak with reporters.

"They are considerably distraught," Barker said. "They're having a really hard time."

16 Comments

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  • JayJay May 14, 1:54 p.m.

    I believe you are not required to wear a jacket on a tube or sking if you are over 13. That being said we always make everyone wear one if they are doing anything on the other end of a rope on our boat. You can really get knocked around when you fall on the water. I have had the wind knocked out of me many times falling while slaloming.

  • robbincasino May 13, 5:58 p.m.

    We always make anyone that we are towing wear a life vest. The water is not forgiving when you hit it. It is like running full force into a brick wall and this gentleman could have very easily knocked himself out when he hit the water. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • pulstar40 May 13, 5:27 p.m.

    I thought that a Life Jacket was required for anyone in an inner tube being pulled by a boat....

  • whatelseisnew May 13, 4:40 p.m.

    We need to ban and drain all of these lakes. They are killing too many people.

  • 678devilish May 13, 3:37 p.m.

    Another tragedy at Jordan Lake. Praying for the family and many friends and the searchers. My condolences to the family. May God bring all of you comfort and understanding along with peace in the coming days.

  • bombayrunner May 13, 3:18 p.m.

    so devistating for loved ones, its such a scary and helpless feeling to miss someone like that. Feel bad for them.

  • Obamacare survives May 13, 1:53 p.m.

    Have the authorities ruled out the possibility of foul play?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves May 13, 1:50 p.m.

    So sorry to hear this.

    Praying for those who loved him, and for the safety of those searching for him.

  • LordHelpUsAll May 13, 12:48 p.m.

    Life jackets are a must out on the water. Very sorry for this family. :-(

  • bubbba May 13, 11:41 a.m.

    I was out there at 3 yesterday. It was cold. Watertemp around 65. Wind blowing, water choppy around that time. Even saw a few white caps. People pulling kids in tubes and plenty of jetskis. Talked to one lady on a ski and she said it was too cold.

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