STOKESDALE, N.C. -- Day eight of the search for two missing fishermen on Belews Lake will commence Friday, as search teams prepare for a high volume of recreational boaters this weekend.
Belews Lake has remained open to the public, despite ongoing search efforts for two men--Jacob Line and James "Pat" Bohenstiel--who have been declared missing since Thursday night, when a lake goer noticed the men's boat and personal belongings near the area known as the "hot hole."
Stokes County EMS has posted "missing persons" signs in all marinas of the lake. The agency's director, Greg Collins, said he is hopeful this weekend's expected influx of boaters will aid the search teams by adding "extra eyes" on the water.
Since Monday, the magnitude of the search has scaled back significantly--from 400 personnel to only 15 to 20 personnel per day, according to Collins. He said multiple agencies from different counties are still participating in the search, as teams take turns conducting "surface searches."
Collins said this Saturday, at 10 a.m., the agencies will be participating in a full-scale training exercise. He said ironically, the training is for search and rescue/recovery, and it was scheduled prior to when the fishermen went missing. Because of the existing circumstances, Collins said the training will be conducted as an active search throughout the designated search area.
Collins said despite the lack of results from the week-long search, teams still believe there is a "high probability" the men are in the water. However, he said search teams cannot be 100 percent certain, because no one reported seeing the men actually fall into the water the night they went missing.