Rescue crews locate missing rafter's body on Chattooga River - FOX Carolina 21

Rescue crews locate missing rafter's body on Chattooga River

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Search teams along the Chattooga River (Source: Oconee Co. Emergency Services) Search teams along the Chattooga River (Source: Oconee Co. Emergency Services)
LONG CREEK, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Emergency officials said they're working to recover a missing man who fell out of a raft into a remote location of the Chattooga River.

The man was on a rafting trip when he fell into the water and got trapped in a rapid Tuesday afternoon, according to emergency responders.

The man has been identified as Thomas Patrick Hill of Florida, and was on a corporate retreat, according to Michelle Burnett of the US Forest Service.

Officials said commercial guides tried to rescue Hill from the water, but were unable to do so. Hill is presumed drowned, according to forestry officials.

Oconee County Emergency Services said they've been working with the Dept. of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service to determine where Hill is located.

As of Thursday afternoon, rescuers suspended their search in the water because the water level was dangerously high, according to Burnett. The search from the banks continued and Hill's body was later located, Burnett said.

Burnett said crews would work to recover Hill's body Friday morning and should be on the river by 10 a.m. to start that process.

Operations consisted of 15 swiftwater operators from Anderson, as well as Pickens and Oconee counties along with eight land-based rope technicians from Rabun County, GA, the state of Georgia and Georgia Search and Rescue.

Two paramedics from Oconee County Medical Center and Rabun County are providing medical support for personnel if needed. The South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team will be on standby.

The commercial outfitter guides that operate on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River under permit from the US Forest Service are also providing support, Burnett said.

Recreational boating on the river has continued despite the search efforts.

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