Recovery efforts resume for missing boater in Ascension Parish

Search for missing boater in Ascension Parish has now become recovery effort

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The search for a missing boater in Ascension Parish is now considered a recovery effort by officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Allen Fitzgerald, 24, of Prairieville, went missing when his boat sank on Bayou Manchac on Monday around 9 p.m. The search for Fitzgerald was called Tuesday evening after 8 p.m. It resumed Wednesday around 6:30 a.m.

Sgt. Randy Lanoux with the LDWF said Monday's heavy rains have created a swift current in the water, which prevents divers from being used at this time.

"Bottom is a little cluttered," Lanoux said. "That always hurts things. The water is abnormally high. We are dealing with a pretty swift current. That slows down the search."

He added crews will continue searching until they find Fitzgerald and his boat.

Fitzgerald's passenger said the two of them were in a 12-foot bateau about three or four miles upstream from the Amite River when the boat began to take on water. 

The passenger managed to jump off the boat, swim to shore and call 911 for help. What may have happened to Fitzgerald is currently unknown. The passenger admitted neither he nor Fitzgerald were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.

The LDWF is leading the search, assisted by the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. The search began Monday night, but was called off at 3 a.m. before resuming on Tuesday morning.

Crews are dredging the water near a boat a launch on Ducros Road in Prairieville. Sonar and aerial searches are also being used.

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