Update: Search Resumes For Omaha Diver Missing In Arkansas

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

Several agencies are working to recover a diver from Omaha who went missing in an Arkansas lake. The search resumed on Thursday morning.

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission along with the Mennonite Disaster Service Search and Rescue Team and rescue workers from a nearby county are diving in Beaver Lake trying to find 28-year-old Michael Burton.

Cadaver dogs and sonar revealed a mass in the water a couple of days ago and that is where the search is focused on.

Alan Bland, A park ranger with the Army Corps of Engineers, told Channel 6 News that they believe Burton is "more than likely dead."

Burton, a nationally recognized scuba diver, went missing Saturday while free-diving and spearfishing with a friend on Beaver Lake in Arkansas.

"The big problem we're having is in this cove there's hundreds and hundreds of trees underwater either standing or laying down. It's a very difficult spot," Bland said.

Bland said the unidentified man Burton was diving with told crews the two were free diving down to 50 feet. According to rescue crews, a person loses visibility in that area of Beaver Lake at 35-40 feet. The crews are now searching now from 65 feet up. The area is as deep as 230 feet.

"If he's down there, he's dead. It's a 180 acre inland on the lake. It's been searched to make sure there wasn't any evidence that popped up that would have us go in a different direction. They didn't find anything. So we pretty much assume that he's underwater with no tank or anything. And he more than likely is dead," he said.

"He could have passed out underwater, he could have got caught up in the many, many, man trees under the water, I'm sure there's fish hooks down there where people have been fishing over the years. It's just anybody's guess what happened and why he didn't come back up."

According to Bland, the Carroll County Sheriff told Burton's Family to not make the trip down to Arkansas yet because they do not know anything.

"We're not about to give up, we're very dedicated to this. We're going to work as long as it takes to get Michael out and get him back with his family," Bland said.

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