One man missing after fishing boat accident on Yellow River

HOLT, Fla., Dec. 30, 2022—An Alabama man is missing after a fishing boat accident on the Yellow River here this morning.

Two men were fishing on the river east of the boat launch at River’s Edge Campground when their fiberglass boat hit a submerged object around 10:15 a.m.

The impact threw the 79-year-old Elba, Ala., man, into the water and jerked the motor controls out of the hand of the other man in his late 60s who was from the local area.

Regaining control, the driver immediately swung the boat around to rescue his fishing partner; however, when he reached for the man in the water, the boat swamped and sank. The older man disappeared under the surface.

The boat driver was rescued and Okaloosa County EMS transported him to a local hospital to be treated with non-life-threatening injuries.

During the course of three-and-a-half hours, nine boats were launched from the River’s Edge Campground to search for the missing fisherman.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched three boats and put a diver into the water. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office also put three divers in the water.

Holt Fire District performed on-scene command duties among the fire rescue units which included Harold Fire District and Crestview Fire Department.

Harold and Crestview Fire launched boats to assist in searching the river along with three personally owned boats and other off-duty first responders.

According to Holt Fire Chief Scott Chestnut, it has been a number of years since a boating accident like this one has occurred in the Holt area.

A search for the missing man continued until just after 2 p.m. when severe weather forced the search to be suspended.

It is unknown if the search has been continued at the time of this story.

Harold Fire District launches a boat in the Yellow River to assist in the search. (photo by Ruth Tydings)

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