Family releases statement after body of missing man recovered on - FOX Carolina 21

Family releases statement after body of missing man recovered on Lake Hartwell

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Kip Burrell. (Credit: Wife Stacey) Kip Burrell. (Credit: Wife Stacey)
The search continued near Singing Pines (Sep. 19, 2017) The search continued near Singing Pines (Sep. 19, 2017)

Family, friends and community members continuing the search for Kip Burrell, missing after he was thrown off a boat during a summer storm, finally received closure on Wednesday.

The tragic incident occurred around 4:45 p.m. on July 15 when authorities were notified of a possible drowning near the Singing Pines Boat Ramp. Deputies said when a couple was thrown from their boat, a passerby was able to pull the woman to safety but Burrell was not found.

For days, more than 25 agencies provided resources and equipment in the search for Burrell, but efforts were later suspended.

Anderson County officials said Burrell's family coordinated another search effort on Monday with the help of a company called Bruce's Legacy.

An employee of Big Water Marina said they provided boatslips for searchers to dock their boats. According to the marina, a search party was out scouring a small island near Singing Pines.

On Wednesday, Coroner Greg Shore said the dive team searching for Burrell had recovered a body from the water. The Anderson County Sheriff's Office identified the body as Burrell's.

The family released a statement on Friday thanking all who assisted in recovery efforts to locate Burrell:

The family would like to acknowledge the remarkable commitment and compassion by the many search teams, divers and volunteers that worked so diligently in the recovery efforts of our beloved Kip at Lake Hartwell. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Anderson Fire Department have been phenomenal to our family over the past two months. Their commitment to stand beside us and help us in every way possible has been such a blessing and comfort during this time – Sheriff Chad McBride, David Baker, Ryan Herring, Randy Bratcher and Miriam Bratcher are just a few of the amazing and special people we have working for our community. We have truly been blessed over the past nine and a half weeks by our community and public service agencies.

And this week, thanks to Kelly Johnson and Jenny Pierce of Mitchell’s Light, the special members of Bruce’s Legacy, Keith Cormican and Beth Darst, came to help us in our quest to bring our Kip’s body home. We will forever be grateful to this special organization for helping to relieve a little of the weight from our shoulders by finding him. Through their vast experience across the country and their special technology, they were able to find him on the second day of their search. We ask that anyone who feels so moved to do so, please donate to our gofundme account in Memoriam of Kip Burrell, so that we can help assist our local agencies in acquiring more specialized equipment and training, in hopes that another family doesn’t have to go through the grueling weeks we just went through. We also hope we can help to gain more support from our state – with the vast amount of bodies of water across South Carolina, there needs to be more of a commitment and funding from our state to help to better equip and train our local public service agencies, so that they are better able to aid families in these sorts of tragedies.

Kip was the kindest man you’d ever meet, and made such an impact on so many people lives. Kip was an avid deer hunter and fisherman who loved nothing more than time spent with his son in the woods or on the water. He greatly enjoyed time spent traveling with his wife, hanging out with their close friends, tailgating at Georgia football games or cheering on the Atlanta Braves, and still loved surprising Stacey even after 31 years. Kip also loved his baby girl, and thought nothing was greater in life than being “Papa Pik” to the two Grandchildren he has been blessed with over the past 3 years. A heavy weight has been lifted from our shoulders this week, but our hearts will forever miss our beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, grandson and friend. 

According to Bruce's Legacy, the dive team has recovered 21 drowning victims in the last four years, utilizing $300,000 worth of high-tech solar equipment and a submersible vehicle.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Search and recovery efforts suspended at Lake Hartwell after man thrown overboard during storms

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