Madison boater missing
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 PM
RIDGELAND - Madison Fire and Rescue, Reservoir Patrol and the Ridgeland Police Department were just three of the handful of law enforcement agencies aiding in the search for a Madison man who went missing late Tuesday night in the waters of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
Search and rescue crews stage in a parking lot along the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
The search was ongoing as of press time.
Officials said John Gregory Kassel, 53, jumped into the reservoir around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night on the Madison side, between Red Dot Road at Madison Landing and the dam. Kassel was first reported missing around 11 p.m. by one of the three people with whom he was boating.
Emergency services suspended the search around 1 a.m., and resumed Wednesday morning around 7 a.m., using a dozen sonar boats to sweep the area.
Madison County Emergency Management Agency Director Butch Hammack said around 2 p.m. Wednesday that there had been no recovery, and that the search would continue.
"We've got boats in the water spaced 100 feet apart," Hammack said. "We call it a grid-search. We're running SONAR several feet away from the bank, and we run the boats back-and-forth so that we can cover the entire area. If we see anything that looks out-of-the-ordinary, we are sending down divers to investigate."
Hammack said Kassel was still considered a "missing swimmer." If the SONAR sweeps are not successful, officials said it could be days before a body is recovered.
Kassel, a Baton Rouge native, is the sole proprietor of Kassel Tile, Inc., located on East State Street in Ridgeland.
Reservoir Patrol Chief Perry Waggener could not be reached for comment by press time.