Bristol man still missing in lake

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Rescue workers were still unable to find on Tuesday any signs of a Bristol man who has been missing in Watauga Lake since a boating accident on Sunday afternoon.
   According to officials, James David Woodmancey, 37, of Bristol, had been at Watauga Lake near the Watauga Point Recreation Area with a friend preparing to water ski when the accident occurred.
   Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stated that Woodmancey had been in the water preparing to water ski and as the operator, a female friend of his, put the boat into gear, the back of the boat swung around and hit him.
   "He was struck by the boat and apparently went under the water," TWRA Wildlife Officer Gary McWherter said on Monday. "The operator (of the boat) obtained assistance from a fisherman but they were unsuccessful in locating Mr. Woodmancey."
   Emergency workers with the Carter County Rescue Squad and several local volunteer fire departments arrived on the scene shortly after the call came in to the Carter County 911 Communications Center about the accident. Rescuers braved rain and thunderstorms as they searched from the time they arrived on scene until the early morning hours on Monday.
   The search continued early Monday morning with emergency personnel arriving back on the scene around 6:30 a.m., just five hours after they suspended rescue efforts.
   Several local and state agencies joined in the search on Monday as officers from the TWRA joined members of the Carter County Rescue Squad -- including the Swift Water Rescue Team -- as well as members of the Kingsport Lifesaving Crew's Water Rescue Team, members of the Hampton-Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department and a search and rescue dog team from the Bristol Tennessee Police Department.
   The Kingsport Lifesaving Crew brought in some specialized equipment to aid in the search, including a side sonar device and an underwater panning camera.
   According to officials, the portion of the lake where the man was reported missing can vary in depth from 60 feet to more than 200 feet and falls right in the main channel of the Watauga River.
   Rescue workers continued searching the area of the lake on Tuesday using sonar equipment where the man was reported missing.