Body of Chatham County man recovered from Jordan Lake

From staff reportsMay 17, 2013 

— Firefighters pulled the body of a Chatham County man from Jordan Lake on Friday morning, six days after he fell into the water from a tube being towed by a boat.

Ricky Hill, 50, who lived in the Silk Hope area of the county, was spotted by a fisherman about 10 a.m. on the day firefighters from the North Chatham Volunteer Fire Department and from Durham had abandoned efforts to find him.

They had used scent-trained dogs and sonar to search from Sunday afternoon, when Hill did not come up after falling in, through Thursday, Mark Riggsbee, deputy chief of the North Chatham Volunteer Fire Department said. Hill was riding a tube behind a boat when he fell into the lake, officials said.

Durham divers had gone back to the lake Thursday for one more try at finding him, the chief said.

“We don’t know why we didn’t see him,” Riggsbee said.

The sonar used by rescuers is powerful, and the Vista Point area of the lake has a relatively unobstructed bottom, he said.

Hill’s body was released to a funeral home, Riggsbee said.

In other instances, the equipment has shown clear images of people for whom firefighters were searching, Riggsbee said. “We learn from every incident,” he said.

Monday, five boats were deployed for search and support, and firefighters brought in two scent-trained dogs to ride on the boats and sniff for any odors escaping from the still water that morning.

The search for Hill was difficult, Riggsbee said, because several people knew him because he lived in the area.

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