Search for missing Hampton County boater enters fourth day

Search for missing Hampton County boater enters fourth day

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WTOC) - UPDATE: The search for a missing Hampton County teenager is in its fourth day.

Search and rescue crews are combing areas surrounding Parris Island on Wednesday. Officials say 19-year-old Mallory Beach was one of six people on a boat early Sunday morning when it collided with a portion of the bridge at Archers Creek.

Just like on Tuesday, the lead agency in the search - the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - is asking anyone out on the water to have their eyes on the water. They know the more eyes on the water, the better their chances of finding Beach.

Marcus Smalls says he found out Wednesday about the search after seeing search crews heading out from the boat ramp at Battery Creek. He says can’t imagine what the Beach family is going through as the search effort enters the fourth day.

“I know it’s mind-boggling right now. Hoping and praying that they will have the relief of finding her,” he said.

Smalls says he’ll be watching the surface of the creek a little closer until the missing boater is found.

“Very vigilant, especially around the pilings and stuff. At least I know what’s going on."

No matter how insignificant some piece of debris in the water could seem, search leaders say every tip counts.

“We are receiving calls from citizens around the area asking us to come check stuff out,” said Lt. Michael Paul Thomas, SC DNR. “We are sending officers, or an asset, whoever is closet to that area to go and do a search in that area as well, so we encourage that to continue.”

As far as the search goes, helicopters were able to get back in the air after weather grounded them temporarily. Boat crews and dive teams continue to look in the initial search area as the hours and days go on.

Family and friends continue to line the drive just before the main gate onto Parris Island. Beach’s family says right now, they are asking for prayers.

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UPDATE: We’re learning more about the continuing search for a Hampton County teen who went missing after the boat she was on crashed into a bridge near Parris Island, early Sunday morning.

Tuesday is the third day of the search, which has expanded to include the Broad and Beaufort Rivers all the way out to mouth of Port Royal Sound. That’s on top of the areas rescuers initially started with around Archers Creek.

Our sister station in Columbia, SC reports the missing woman is 19-year-old Mallory Beach. The lead agency on the search, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the cause of the boat crash is still in the very early stages of investigation and is ongoing. They say the missing woman was one of six people on the boat. In addition to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s helicopter being back in the air on Tuesday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division sent a chopper to help. Multiple local agencies - civilian and military - are involved in the search as well.

Rescuers are relying on extra eyes from fishermen and those on the water for recreation to watch out for anything in the water potentially tied to the boat crash.

“Just call 911 immediately. Back off a safe distance. Try to keep a line of sight on it, but just back away,” said Lt. Michael Paul Thomas, SC DNR. “Let us get up there so we can, if needed, document it, photograph it, whatever’s required, and if it’s nothing, that’s fine too. We’d still like to come check it out. Anything that piques their curiosity or they think they see something, we will send an asset to check it out immediately.”

Lt. Thomas says there is a lot of support right now for the missing woman’s family. A chaplain is on-hand and rescuers are relaying information to them and updating them when they can.

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Crews are searching for a boater who went missing over the weekend near Archers Creek at Parris Island.

Day two of the search for the missing boater resumed as soon as there was enough daylight for crews to safely go out and start looking again. The lead agency on the search is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

This is very much a multi-agency effort, with resources coming from the county, local municipalities, even the Coast Guard and Marines to find the missing woman. She was one of six on the boat when it hit a portion of the bridge that links Parris Island to the mainland over Archers Creek early Sunday morning.

A lieutenant participating in the search spoke about the conditions of the search and rescuers are up against as they scour the ever expanding search area.

“Right when the tide changes, we’re getting two to three dives in, around those tide changes, and then they’re a little slower during the period that the tides running,” said Lt. Michael Paul Thomas with South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources. "As far as the boats, the tide does affect some of our boats as far as getting up in some of the smaller creeks and gutters that branch off the main creeks. So we have a variety of boats out here. We’ve got smaller boats that can go up into small creeks and we’ve got larger boats from our agency and other agencies that can cover bigger water.”

The initial cause of the collision is still under investigation.

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