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Search for missing boater enters day 3

Published July 24. 2013 05:02PM

Today marks day three of an intensive search for a man who became missing after apparently falling out of his boat early Monday morning at Beltzville Lake in Towamensing Township.

Search operations had to be suspended Monday evening due to weather, but have progressed since.

Around 6 a.m. Monday morning, another boater on the lake heard calls for help and spotted the empty boat, according to Carbon County Communications radio traffic.

In addition to a fleet of search boats and divers, rescue teams could be seen using specialized sonar equipment to scan parts of the massive lake for the man.

Officials on scene stated that special "sniffer" dogs are being brought in to sniff the surface of the water. Divers will go in if either finds a clue.

Incident Commander Ryan Snyder, Towamensing Fire Company, said the incident occurred approximately 60 yards from the shoreline, which was located in a small cove on the southeast side of the lake, in the area of Evergreen Drive.

Beltzville Lake has about 20 miles of shoreline, some spots being just over 120 feet deep.

Rescue and dive personnel from Carbon, Schuylkill, Montgomery and Lehigh counties are being used in the search.

The Pine Run boat launch, just off Pohopoco Drive and Deer Lane, still serves as the staging area for search and rescue crews. Volunteers with the Towamensing Fire Company fire police are limiting pedestrian and visitor access to the boat launch area during the search.

Although the boat launches remain closed during the search, officials added that the park, including its beaches, is still open. They added that only search and rescue boats are permitted on the lake.

"Hopefully, we can conclude this. I know everybody wants this concluded, especially and unfortunately the family," said Fred Merluzzi, Carbon County EMA. "It's a daunting challenge, like finding a needle in a pile of needles."

As of press time today, officials haven't released the name of the missing man or how long they plan on searching.

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