Search Continues for Missing Boater in Choctawhatchee River

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Caryville- Wildlife officer Hampton Yates continued to search for missing fisherman, James Brice Jackson (49) Monday, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Yates and others have been searching for Jackson since he went missing Saturday morning.

He and his friend, John Martin Fears (59) set out from the Caryville landing Friday night in a10 foot john boat.Officials believe the boat capsized around 10:00 pm.

"During that night- or that morning- it was real cold and it was extremely foggy" Yates explained. "The boat that I was actually using that night, at an idol position, you couldn't hop up on a plain and run it was so foggy. Temperature, hypothermia- those type issues are things to consider."

Fears was able to swim to the river bank, walk to Highway 90, and call for help. He went to the hospital in Chipley and was reportedly released on Monday. Neither of the men were wearing life jackets, but authorities said had Jackson been wearing a life jacket he may have made it ashore.

Crews have been searching an area of the River South of Highway 90 and Interstate 10. The boat washed ashore between the points on the East side, or Washington County side of the river. Floating with the boat was an ax, machete, and camping equipment. Officials told us if Jackson's body was not found by sun down Monday, they would have to bring in a larger crew and helicopter Tuesday.

Local fisherman David Mock told us he was worried he may be the one to find the body. "Probably would be startling to see something like that" fisherman Mock said. "I've never seen nothing like that before."


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