February 22: A 43-year-old man and two 15-year old boys are missing and presumed dead after their 20-foot bass boat was sucked through floodgates on the Pickwick Dam in Hardin County, TN. The boys were members of The Obion County High School fishing team participating in a weekend tournament on Pickwick Lake.
According to authorities, their boat's main engine wouldn't start but they elected to proceed using the trolling motor. Surveillance cameras at the dam show the boat going through the floodgates early Saturday morning. The capsized boat was recovered on Monday morning 14 miles north of the dam near the Savannah bridge and showed extensive damage. High, fast, cold water on the river has hampered extensive search efforts, and to date, none of the victims have been recovered. It appears that none of the three were wearing PFDs or thermal protection.
TWRA: Two teens, parent still missing on Pickwick Lake;
boat recovered with 'extensive damage'
Natalie Neysa Alund, Brandon Shields and Cassandra
The Nashville Tennessean
Feb. 24, 2020
Officials continue to search for two high school students
and a parent chaperone who went missing Saturday night on the Tennessee River
after a fishing competition. State and local officials were searching Monday
for three people who went missing following a weekend fishing tournament on
Pickwick Lake in Hardin County.
The missing boaters, identified by the Tennessee Wildlife
Resource Agency as two 15-year-old boys and a 43-year-old man, were part of a
Obion Central High School fishing team and had been on the water Saturday for a
Search teams recovered the missing boat Monday morning on
the Tennessee River below Pickwick Dam near the Savannah Bridge. The boat went
through the flood gates and suffered "extensive damage," according to
TWRA Spokeswoman Amy Snider-Spencer.
The Hardin County Fire Department and TWRA continue to
search for the missing boaters, who had not returned home as of Monday morning.
They were last seen around 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
Tim Watkins, the director of schools for Obion County, said
the students and one of their fathers, a chaperone, were reported missing
Sunday night. "The boat which they were in was having engine problems
before the start of the competition and did not leave the dock with the rest of
the competitors," Watkins told The Tennessean on Monday morning. "It
was believed that they had taken the boat out of the water and gone home,"
Watkins said. "Evidently they decided to go ahead and try to
Neither the school district or TWRA have released the
missing boaters' identities.
Search continues with storms in forecast
Amy Snider-Spencer, a TWRA spokeswoman, said the search
resumed at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Teams are currently searching the
Tennessee River immediately below Pickwick Dam, but will have to pause their
efforts and take shelter on land if lightning begins to appear in the area.
Strong and potentially severe storms are possible in Hardin
County and other areas of West Tennessee on Monday afternoon and evening,
according to the National Weather Service. Showers are expected to bring
between a quarter and a half an inch of rain to the area Monday. Possible
thunderstorms are not expected until Monday evening.
Hardin County also remains under flood warning due to heavy
rainfall that caused river levels to rise earlier in February. Though the
Tennessee River has crested and floodwaters have begun to recede over the past
several days, the NWS expects water levels to remain elevated for the rest of
All three bodies recovered from Tennessee River believed to
be missing Pickwick Lake boaters
TWRA says 43-year old Kenneth Driver and two 15-year-old
boys were last seen in a picture taken above the Pickwick Dam in February.
Channel 10 News; Nashville Tennessean
Published: 7:57 AM EDT March 11, 2020
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The 18-day search for three missing
boaters from Obion County has resulted in the recovery of three bodies from the
TWRA said 43-year old Kenneth Driver and two 15-year-old
boys were last seen in a picture taken above the Pickwick Dam the morning of
February 22 at a fishing tournament. Authorities believe all three of thems and
the 20-foot bass boat went through the floodgates of the dam.
The third body was discovered around 7:00 a.m. in the
Tennessee River near Shiloh National Military Park on the Tennessee River. It
was the same general area where the two previous bodies were found.
The second body was recovered Wednesday within a mile of
the first missing boater recovered Tuesday, approximately nine miles from the
dam. According to TWRA, the bodies have been sent to the medical examiner’s
office in Memphis for an autopsy and identification.
RELATED: TWRA reducing workforce in search for three
missing boaters in Hardin County. Officials with Obion County Schools said the
three missing boaters missed the tournament weigh-in but organizers believed they
left early. They weren’t reported missing until around 9 p.m. Sunday.
Just days after the search began, TWRA found 20-foot bass
boat belonging to the boaters and transitioned its rescue operation to a
recovery operation.Multiple agencies along with TWRA have been focusing their
search efforts on a 14-mile stretch of the Tennessee River just a few miles
past the Pickwick Dam where the boat was found.