Body of Missing Duck Hunter Found


Search teams have recovered the body of a missing duck hunter who fell into Lake Seminole Tuesday morning.

The 17-year old and two friends were hunting on the lake and the Chattahoochee River when their boat sank. Rescuers were racing against time because of freezing temperatures.

17 year old Matthew Jernigan, a Junior at Southwest Georgia Academy in Damascus, Georgia was duck hunting with friends, Thomas Vines and Payson Trawick Tuesday morning.

They were apparently trying to retrieve a duck when their boat started taking-on water.

Vines and Trawick swam to shore.

Jackson County dispatchers took the 911 about 8:30 Tuesday morning.

"They could just hear some flapping and sounds and people talking in the back ground but nobody reported anything to them."

All three of the boys are members of a duck hunting club called Quacker Smackers, an organization co-founded by one of the boy's cousins.

According to club's facebook page, the boys were hunting infront of the camp on Lake Seminole.

Paramedics took Vines and Trawick to the hospital where they were listed in good condition but they're worried about their friend Jernigan who's still missing.

"He was last seen floating on a gas can in the water," said Health Elliot, Seminole County, Georgia Sheriff.

15 boats, 3 planes, 2 helicopters and dozens of people are participating in the search.

"A lot of volunteers. Just, community members, friends of the family, citizens that brought their boats out. Air planes flying, local people- crop dusters. Local farmer has a helicopter that he's been flying- was actually instrumental in the quick finding of the two boys on the island."

They've reportedly found a boot, flashlight, jacket and gas tank, but no sign of Jernigan.

"The biggest concern would be the temperature and the water temperature. I would think hypothermia would be an issue."

Then late tuesday afternoon, they found Jernigan's body about 100-feet south of where the boat sank.

The medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death..


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