A dive team with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office continued a search after nightfall Wednesday for a man who apparently drowned after falling backward from a boat at Country Cottages lake on Sandfort Road, authorities said.
“We will be here until we find him,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said shortly after 9 p.m. He didn’t identify the missing man but the sheriff said a team is working to recover the victim who disappeared about 5 p.m. Three or four more divers and equipment were on the way to the area about seven miles west of Phenix City.
Witnesses told authorities a man was out in his boat and talking to residents nearby when he stood up and fell backward in the water. He came up and asked for help before he disappeared in the lake. Residents tried to locate the man in the water before rescue personnel were called.
Cottages surround the lake on three sides and the southwest side is wooded. Residents spilled outside their homes as two divers started a grid search near buoys along a section of the lake. Taylor said the lake is about 15 to 20 feet deep in the middle.
Different people pointed to different sections in the lake to conduct the search. “That makes it tough,” Taylor said. “We are trying to search each location the best we can and move to the area where they might find him.”
People in the area also said the man could swim. “I don’t know if he had some type of health issue that caused him not to be able to swim,” the sheriff said.
Staff photographer Mike Haskey contributed to this report.