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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Body Recovered From the Apalachicola River

On Monday morning searchers recovered the body of a Blountstown man who disappeared in the Apalachicola River Saturday after a boating accident, about a mile south of the Chattahoochee Landing, near the spot where the accident occurred, as reported by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Lt. Gary Applewhite.
The dead man was identified as Jefferie S. Rector, 28, of Blountstown. FWC Investigator Tony Brunson said Rector and Mark Hamilton, 29, of Marianna, were going north on the river Saturday afternoon in a 15-foot aluminum boat, powered by a 75-horsepower motor.
They had been knee boarding and enjoying the river after entering the river at Ocheessee Landing earlier in the day. They had decided to make their way upriver to the Chattahoochee Landing when they attempted to go around a navigation buoy. Brunson said it’s unclear exactly what happened, but as they made a sharp turn, the vessel hit a wake or "something" that caused both men to be ejected.
Neither man wore a life jacket.
Hamilton told officers, after he and Rector were ejected, the boat began circling wildly and then struck Rector. Hamilton was pulled from the river by a fisherman who was nearby. He remained at the scene and assisted in the search for Rector.
Rector’s body has been turned over to the medical examiner’s office in Panama City.
Many area law enforcement agencies aided in the overnight search for the body. These included the dive team from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the Gadsden and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Departments, the Chattahoochee Police Department, a helicopter search team from Calhoun-Gulf County search and rescue team, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

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