06/30/10 — Drowning victim found at Busco

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Drowning victim found at Busco

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 30, 2010 1:46 PM

Authorities say it is possible that a Rocky Mount man who drowned Monday evening at Busco Beach became stuck after stepping into a hole filled with silt. The body of Michael Gardner, 44, was recovered shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Carey Winders said that Gardner had been at the lake with his wife and two daughters. The lake is located off of U.S. 117 in the Mar Mac community south of Goldsboro.

Gardner was fishing, while his family was in the water, Winders said.

The family told Winders that Gardner entered the water and they lost sight of him. The lake is about 7 to 8 feet deep in the area where Gardner went missing. However, there are a number of deeper holes in the lake bed, Winders said.

Craig Brown, a safety officer with the Mar Mac Fire Department, said that the body was recovered after it came to the surface.

Brown said that a Sheriff's Office cadaver dog was used on a boat before divers and swimmers entered the water Tuesday morning. Brown said that was done so that their scent would not interfere with the dog's search.

The crews also tried using underwater cameras again, but the silt was so dense that the camera was not much help, he said.

Brown said that he thinks the back- and-forth motion of the boats across the lake stirred the silt thereby freeing the body. Brown said that during his portion of the search he had felt no stumps or roots in the lake that might have trapped Gardner.

"I think he just got stuck in the mud," he said.

Once the body surfaced, a swimmer was sent out and the body was recovered, he said

Search crews had spent five hours criss-crossing the lake Monday evening before halting the search about 11:15 p.m. Deputies and one boat remained on the scene throughout the night to secure the area. They spent another three hours searing Tuesday morning.

Nearly a dozen swimmers and divers and two three-man boat crews from the Arr-Mac Water Response Team and Sheriff's Office Underwater Recovery Team criss-crossed an area of the lake using an underwater camera, drag lines and a cadaver dog in their efforts.