BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Two fishermen who hoped to catch a record sized catfish went missing on Lake Marion last weekend. Five days later, there are still no signs of the two men.
Berkeley County rescue squad officials say 28-year-old Michael Muse and 33-year-old Douglas Smith have been missing since last Sunday afternoon. They launched their boat Saturday from Canal Lakes Fish Camp in Cross. Family members are trying to keep their hopes up while searching for the two men.
Appropriately, skies were gray Thursday as family and friends waited for news about the two missing fishermen. Muse's sister, Kim Ruff, says the two men launched their 14-foot aluminum boat Saturday from the Rediversion canal.
"They were on the look for a record breaking catfish," Ruff said.
The men were planning on spending the night camping out on an island and returning home Sunday around noon. Ruff says Muse's girlfriend called him Saturday afternoon.
"He was on the middle of something," Ruff said. "He said 'I'm a little bit busy right now, let me call you back,' and we've heard nothing since."
On Sunday, a search began on Lake Marion and that afternoon, investigators made a disturbing discovery.
"The boat was spotted Sunday afternoon by DNR's airplane and it was capsized," Ruff said. "They found it by Pintail Island on Lake Marion."
Ruff said the weather on Saturday may have played a role in whatever happened to the two men. The winds were gusting as high as 45 to 50 miles an hour that day. In addition, swells could have been up to 10 feet.
"Michael's only 28 years old," Ruff said. "He's a tough boy, but sometimes the elements are tougher."
Now, two families are trying to tough it out, waiting and worrying.
"We don't know if they're on an island and they're hurt or if the worst has happened."
Ruff says they found some of the missing men's camping gear, but no other clues to help find them.
"Right now we're just waiting," Ruff said. "My mom refuses to leave until she brings her son home one way or the other."
She says at least one DNR boat has been looking for the men every day and will keep searching. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office and the Berkeley County Rescue Squad have assisted in the search.