Family devastated as search for missing Florence boater continues

Dallion Long is a father of three.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 3:32 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2019 5:49 PM

The search continues for a Florence man who police say fell off a boat in Wilson Lake Sunday evening.

Family members told WAAY 31 Dallion Long is the man missing in the lake. He's a father of three and it was his first time out on a boat in Wilson Lake.

Crews are searching for Long in an area approximately 60 feet deep and known by locals as Darby's Slough. It's private property neither the family nor media are allowed to be at with search crews as they seek Long. They searched for him Sunday evening and resumed their search around 6 a.m. Monday morning. They will continue searching through Monday evening and Tuesday morning, if a recovery has not been made yet.

According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), crews have used sonars, an underwater camera, divers, an unmanned aerial vehicle and cadaver dogs to help with the search. 

Broadway Church off of Huntsville Road is where many of Long's family members were waiting for any news of the search on Monday. Dozens of Long's family members and friends gathered at the church.

Ladaedra Davis has a six-year-old child with Dallion Long. She said she tried explaining to her son what was happening.

"I don't think it's clicked in his mind. Last night, he got down and prayed. He said, 'Mama, I'm praying to God to find my dad,' and I don't know what to say. All I can do is cry. I've never experienced anything like this, and it's so hard seeing my boy like that, because Dallion was the best father in the world," said Davis. 

Marine police told WAAY 31 Long fell off of a boat a little before 7 Sunday evening. It's unclear exactly how many people were on the boat, but Long never resurfaced. Officials said he was not wearing a life vest.

"We had talked to him that morning, and who knew this would have happened that afternoon? It's just crazy," said Davis.

Davis said Long is a great father, and he has two kids with his new wife, too. His friends and family hope search crews can bring him home soon.

The Killen and Mid-Lauderdale volunteer fire departments, a North Alabama search dog, Shoals Ambulance, Florence police, Florence Fire, Lauderdale County Emergency Management, the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, Colbert County Emergency Management, a Colbert County Dive Team and ALEA Marine Patrol were involved in the search on Monday. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials assisted Sunday evening.

Anyone with information can contact the Marine Patrol Division/Northern District Office at 256-268-2570.

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