Bristol man still missing in lake

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Rescue and emergency teams from all across eastern Tennessee joined up with the Carter County Rescue Squad on Saturday to assist in the search for the body of a Bristol man who has been missing for two weeks.
   Approximately 75 emergency personnel and volunteers took to the water Saturday morning to conduct a dragging operation in hopes of recovering the body of 37-year-old James David Woodmancy. Rescue workers set up a command post at Fish Springs Marina and then took to the water to search an area of the lake near the Watauga Point Recreation area.
   No sign of Woodmancy's body was found during the search on Saturday.
   Local agencies such as the Johnson County Rescue Squad and the Bristol Life Saving Crew as well as members of rescue groups from as far away as Jefferson and Grainger counties responded to the request for help issued by Carter County Rescue Squad Director Terry Arnold. More than a dozen rescue squads and emergency rescue groups assisted in the search.
   Before the group took to the water, David Nichols of the CCRS called the group together and thanked them for being willing to help. After a prayer for the safety of all those involved in the recovery mission and for Woodmancy's family, the recovery operation began.
   On Thursday, Arnold said that if Saturday's effort did not recover Woodmancy's body he was not sure what else could be done. "After this, it's about all we can do except for an occasional top water search," Arnold said.
   According to officials, Woodmancy had been at Watauga Lake near the Watauga Point Recreation Area with a friend preparing to water ski when the accident occurred on May 16. "He was struck by the boat and apparently went under the water," said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Officer Gary McWherter. "The operator (of the boat) obtained assistance from a fisherman but they were unsuccessful in locating Mr. Woodmancy."
   So far, emergency personnel have been able to recover a part of Woodmancy's life jacket and one of the water skis he was using, according to reports.
   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 for the Watuaga River.