(Shelby County, TN) Hope is fading in the search for a man who lost his footing while fishing in the Mississippi River near Shelby Forest.
Bone Leang was standing in waist-deep water Sunday afternoon when he apparently stepped into deeper water and was swept away.
So far, search crews from Shelby County haven’t had any luck finding the man.
They aren’t giving up, and neither are Bone Leang’s family and friends,
“I heard it and I couldn’t, you know, believe it. I was shocked and my heart just dropped.”
Roger Row has known missing fisherman Bone Leang for a long time.
Monday morning, he joined Leang’s family and friends along the bank of the Mississippi River near Shelby Forest, desperately searching for any sign of his friend.
“Hopefully find him laying on the sand, breathing, hopefully.”
Leang’s wife, Rath Hong, maintained a silent vigil near the river.
She said her family was enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon and her husband was fishing in waist-deep water.
According to Hong, Leang had just cast his fishing line into the river when he appeared to step into deeper water.
Hong said in an instant, her husband was caught up in the river’s current, yelling for help.
Brent Perkins, with the Shelby County Fire Department, said the Mississippi’s current is tricky and very dangerous.
“It doesn’t take much water at all to grab you. If you’re in the water up to your hips, you’re actually in the current, by and large, and it can grab you.”
Perkins said two other men tried to rescue Leang but almost drowned in the process.
Cellphone service near the river is not very good and it took a while for Leang’s family to reach 911 operators.
In addition, Brent Perkins said dispatchers had some trouble understanding what the victim’s family was saying because they are Cambodian.
“We had a little bit of difficulty locating exactly where they were. So we had engine companies running to two different locations at the same time.”
Rescue personnel searched until sundown Sunday and resumed Monday morning.
Coastguard crews and members of Shelby County Emergency Services are using sonar to try to locate the man.
Roger Row says as hours pass, hope and memories of Leang are what family and friends are clinging to.
“He’s always living his life to the fullest and always put people before him.”
Leang works at the Firestone store at Poplar and Highland.
Monday, Bridgestone Tires, owners of Firestone released this statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the reports regarding our friend and colleague Bone Leang. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”