Officials search dangerous waters for missing Tennessee high school fishing team

Pickwick Dam is about 30 to 45 minutes from Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Posted: Feb 25, 2020 3:00 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2020 7:59 PM

Pickwick Dam in Savannah, Tennessee is now the command post for search and rescue crews looking for members of the Obion County Central High School fishing team.

Officials are searching for two teens and the boat captain. WAAY 31 reached out to Tim Watkins, the superintendent of Obion County Schools. The school system is a few hours north of Pickwick Lake.

Watkins said the high school's fishing team was doing a practice tournament on Saturday. The only people in the practice tournament were Obion County Central High School fishing team members.

Watkins said everyone met at the dock around 6:45 a.m. for the practice tournament. One of the fathers told the sponsor he was having trouble with his boat, and they'd probably stay back and fish off the dock.

After weigh-ins a few hours later, everyone assumed the father and two teens had gone home, but Watkins said the parent of the other child called looking for her son. That's when they searched the area and found the trailer and truck still near Pickwick.

Amy Spencer, the outreach communications official for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, told WAAY 31 they have security footage that shows the team near the dam in their boat and then gone. The last time the team was officially seen was on security footage around 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The team's boat was found 14 miles downstream. Spencer said it's believed they went through the dam. They are searching 14 miles of the Tennessee River and expanding their search as well.

Spencer said the river is dangerous, churning up debris and has quick currents.

Crews are searching from about 7:30 a.m. to dusk. Spencer said it's too dangerous to keep rescue crews out after dark.

Officials and the school system are not naming the missing teens and father out of respect for the families.

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