Missing Man Found After Water and Air Search

After nearly two days of looking in and around a 1/2 mile stretch of the Spring River by search and rescue teams and family members the search ended Monday when the body of 54 year old Steve McPherson was spotted from a helicopter.

Up til today all search efforts had made no headway so it was decided to bring in a cadaver dog from Jonesboro and a helicopter from Baxter county. Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose explained what happened as both joined in the search.

"Actually the cadaver dogs were here and getting in the river as the helicopter approached to do a search by helicopter they spotted the body in the river on the way upriver to where we were located at our command center ."

The body was located approximately a hundred yards North of the Camp Curl bridge located by the Spring River Camping and Canoe park.

The search had been going on since late Saturday night when McPherson was reported missing during a float trip. It is not clear how he went into the water, whether he jumped in or fell in.

Steve Garner with the Hardy Search and Rescue team says for all the traffic, drowning's on the Spring River are fairly rare.

"For the volume of people that we have on this river and the things that the people do as they come down the river, it's one or two a year."

Owing to the shallowness of the river and considering McPhersons height of 6'2". Family members were hoping that he might have made it to shore since no trace was found in the river.

Garner, a rescue diver along with another diver had searched the bottom on Sunday.

"We covered it well yesterday evening with divers and came up empty handed right in this spot."

The search was coordinated by Gary Gililand the Fire Chief from 9 Mile Ridge along with search and rescue teams from Hardy and the Fulton County Sheriffs Department.

After dragging the river all Monday morning that after noon the search efforts were ramped up. Using cadaver dogs from Jonesboro and a helicopter from the Baxter county sheriffs office.

Shortly upon arrival the helicopter located McPhersons body further down the river from where the main search had been located nearly at the campground.

McPherson was pronounced dead at the scene by Fulton County Deputy Coroner Doug Wortham.

The body will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy.

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