Day three in Belmont County search ends without finding a drowning victim

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Techniques are changing, but the search goes on in Country Club Pond, where a swimmer went underwater Tuesday night and has not been seen since.

They’ve got dive teams, search-and-rescue dogs, and sonar equipment, but underwater visibility is making it a difficult task. Thursday marked day number three in the search. Search crews said they think they know basically where the body is, but the pond is filled with vegetation,

“The visibility is zero. The vegetation is very heavy and they’re just entangled with the undergrowth,” said Belmont County Sheriff, Dave Lucas.

They’re using a different process now as the search continues.

“We have a diver going in today that is on a continuous life. That means he is not limited to time, how far, how long he can be under. So that will help us,” Sheriff Lucas said.

For those on the sidelines, the wait is painful.

“It’s been long days for everyone. For those who are involved with trying to recover a body, for family and friends who just kind of wait and wait, hoping there’ll be a resolution soon. But it’s been difficult times for everyone involved,” said Cumberland Trail Chaplain, Reverend Lee Eilert.

Major Louis A. Patrick with the Belmont County Salvation Army said, “We hope that the body is found soon so that they can mourn through their time and move forward.”

Sheriff Dave Lucas, who has diving experience himself, said rain shouldn’t stop the search, because, in his words, rain is wet but so are the divers.

“Now when you get into lightning and this and that, then that’s an issue,” Sheriff Lucas said.

Search crews hope they’ll make a discovery soon. Groups from all over the tri-state area have come together to aid in the search.

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