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Beltzville State Park lake closed until further notice

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 28 2013 05:15:00 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 28 2013 06:38:52 AM CDT

For a fourth straight day, crews have been searching for a missing boater in Beltzville Lake in Carbon County.

For a fourth straight day, crews have been searching for a missing boater in Beltzville Lake in Carbon County.

But now the state is taking over the search.

Rescue crews are still going out on the water at Beltzville State Park but the number of searchers has decreased because many of the volunteer firefighters are returning to their full-time jobs.

"DCNR, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and the Army Corp of Engineers have come aside the local department and essentially they passed the baton to us to continue the search from here," said Kevin Koflanovich, Park Manager at Beltzville State Park.

Having enough manpower to search Beltzville Lake is now the issue.

State agencies continue to use sonar, K-9 units, and other methods, to find a boater who was reported missing early Tuesday morning after a witness saw an empty boat circling in the water.

"Searches especially in a body of water this size with the depths of the lake, that reach the depths that they do, you need to employ a systematic approach and just continue on," added Koflanovich.

Crews say they will be out here on the water from sun up to sun down each day.

And they say as long as they're out here on the lake, the lake will be closed to all other boaters.

"We are not letting boats launch onto the water. However in the main areas of the park we still have hiking, biking, picnicking, etcetera," said Koflanovich.

Crews are not sure how much longer they will be searching.

There were numerous boats on the water four days ago.

Now there are only three or four.

The hope is to find the missing boater before they run out of people to assist in the search.

"Right now it's an open ended search," added Koflanovich. "Searches again, you never know how long a search will take and we will continue to search as long as resources are available."