Search Resumes Friday For Missing Fisherman On Oologah Lake

Friday, November 9th 2012, 7:56 am
By: Craig Day

The search resumed Friday morning on Oologah Lake for a man who went missing when a boat he was in capsized Thursday just before noon.

Jeremy Brewer, 35, was fishing with his uncle and cousin when their boat hit a large wave on Oologah Lake and started to sink Thursday.

The search resumed at daylight this morning, but weather conditions are making it very difficult.

After suspending the search due to darkness Thursday night, the search resumed at daylight for Jeremy Brewer.

11/8/12 Related Story: Fishing Boat Capsizes On Oologah Lake; Two Rescued, One Missing

The last time his family members saw him, Brewer was going under in 25 feet of water.

"That mere fact that that person is gone, we don't know where they are, they're in the water—it's terrible for the families," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chapman.

Crews with Northwest Rogers County Fire rescued Brewer's cousin and uncle who were also in the boat, but it was tough.

"Steep cliffs and the rocky terrain we were in, getting down to them was a task in itself. And getting them out, we had to have extra manpower," said Fire Chief David Puckett.

While those volunteers now search the shoreline, troopers methodically search the water on a grid, using sonar and GPS.

But the wind is slowing that search and making it more difficult.

"Oologah in itself is a north-south lake, so it makes a tremendous chute for the wind to pick up and start the waves, and the waves get bigger as they go," Chapman said.

The highway patrol typically uses a 16-foot boat for searches, the same size as the one the victims were in, but they called in a larger boat because of the waves.

Even in that vessel, we were having water come up over the bow as we were trying to use our sonar system," Chapman said.

Holding a steady course in three- to four-foot waves is difficult enough, but underwater conditions will also be a challenge.

"The visibility is pretty slim. I would equate it maybe to turning the lights out at the BOK center and putting a box in the middle of the floor and you crawling around in the dark and trying to find something," Chapman said.

Chapman said it's an operation that, because of 30-mile-per-hour winds, has to be done carefully, and always with safety in mind.

"We get another boat turned over, more people in the water, it's just compounded things greatly, and we don't need that," Chapman said.

Brewer's cousin, Damen, was released from the hospital last night.

His uncle, Olen Brewer, is still in the hospital with back and neck injuries after being thrown from the boat.