HOT SPRINGS (AP) — Authorities in Arkansas say they're searching for a sheriff's deputy who disappeared after diving into a lake while boating.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said Saturday two boaters dove into the water and one of them disappeared while trying to return to their party barge on Lake Ouachita, about 70 miles west of Little Rock.
The missing man was identified as Keith Wright, who works as a deputy with the Grant County Sheriff's Office and previously was a Pine Bluff police officer and a Pulaski County sheriff's deputy. Officials say Wright has worked in various roles in law enforcement and has taught diving lessons.
According to a news release, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a man around 9:49 p.m. Friday in reference to his friend being missing on Lake Ouachita.
The man said that he and his friend dove off their party barge near a cove just north of Mountain Harbor Resort. When they came up for air, the boat was drifting away from them.
As both men were swimming towards the boat, the caller lost contact with Wright. The man then swam to a shoreline and yelled for help. A boat eventually rescued him and he reported the incident to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Arkansas Game and Fish, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rangers, the Joplin VFD, and the Mt. Ida-South Fork VFD responded to the call.
The boat was found at the back of a cove with the engine still running and the gear shift in neutral, but the missing man was not found. It is suspected that the wind blew the boat away from the men.
On Monday, the search team decided it would have to scale back on the search; however, authorities do say the team will have a boat on the lake every day in a continued effort to locate Deputy Wright.