Officials: Search for missing teens, chaperone on Pickwick Lake now a recovery mission


The search for the missing boaters on Pickwick Lake continued Thursday. (TWRA photo)

HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency says the search for two missing teens and their chaperone on Pickwick Lake has turned into a recovery mission.

The search continued Thursday with 15 boats conducting surface and sonar scans, two helicopters and an airplane. TWRA said it would provide an update at 5 p.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, crews returned to an area 14 miles north of the Pickwick Dam near the Savannah bridge. That’s the place where the trio’s boat was located overturned on Monday. Some boats have even been sent some 30 miles out to expand the search area.

On Tuesday, more than 100 volunteers searched for the missing boaters, but were reportedly asked to stand down for Wednesday’s search. WKRN was told officials wanted the professional crews out on the water.

High water levels have been a problem for search crews since they began their search earlier this week.

“Rain is the problem that we’ve had. It’s put a lot of water behind the dam, which means a lot of water coming through the dam. So rain equals more volume and we sure don’t want that,” Amy Spencer with TWRA told WKRN.

The three boaters were on the water Saturday for a fishing competition.

WKRN reported that surveillance cameras showed all three in the missing boat around 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The main engine of the boat was reportedly broken and they were using the trolling motor near the ramp and dam.

They were reported missing after they did not return home after the competition.

The Tennessee River flows through Pickwick Dam on Feb. 25, 2020. (TWRA photo)

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