Reporting Elizabeth Dinh
GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) - Divers found nothing as they searched Lake Grapevine Friday evening for a North Texas college student who disappeared 24 hours before. Authorities say the search for the 21-year-old will continue. The challenge for investigators is pinpointing a smaller area where the missing man may be.
“The conditions of the water are certainly a difficulty. There is virtually no visibility. It’s all by touch and very tedious movement, in the dark, if you will,” said Steve Bass, Chief of the Grapevine fire department.
The man was one of 60 people who were on a charter boat to Mustang Island for Independence Day. But when the boat returned to shore, only 59 passengers were on board. No one saw the man fall or drown and without GPS coordinates where the party boat anchored on the lake, investigators are simply taking educated guesses on where to search.
The boat anchored twice so that people could get off and swim in the lake. Witnesses saw the man at both anchor locations, including the last one at about 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. Nobody witnessed him having any sort of trouble.
Authorities are handling this as a missing person case, because they are not sure what happened to the man. Mustang Island can get very crowded on a holiday weekend. Police speculated that he may have simply joined up with another party.
Grapevine Police say search crews used SONAR equipment all day Friday to look for clues underwater, while patrols on the boats looked from up above. The SONAR equipment did pick up an image that “of interest,” according to police. Divers took a closer look at that area.
“The water in that area is about 20 to 25 feet deep.,” said Bass before the divers entered the water. “They will put down markers to begin with and then they will dive to those markers and they will do a search area that’s approx. 15 feet to 20 feet in diameter around that area.”
Bass said divers would search the area until they find something, determine nothing is there, or run out of air.
Although the water is pretty clear, with few obstructions, search crews have been uncertain if they looking in the right spot. Witnesses could only say where they last saw the man.
The missing man’s name and description have not been released. He is a student at a North Texas college, but officials are not saying which one. He’s originally from out-of-state, and his family members just arrived in Grapevine Friday afternoon.
Crews say they will gather more SONAR on Saturday morning and continue their search.
“We will not end our search until we find him,” Bass said.
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