Local fisherman surprised by waves,boat capsizes,vests float away
By Susan Harrison
Monitor Staff Reporter
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–After searching for more than a day and half, game wardens located the drowned body of Darin Karl, 42, of Kemp, Thursday. He was found by the wildlife refuge island, close to the first set of bridges going across the lake from Kemp to Mabank.
On Wednesday morning, Karl and his nephew, a 24-year-old college student from Mabank, put Karl’s 14-foot boat with an eight-horsepower motor in the lake at the public boat ramp at Tom Finley Park to fish that day.
According to Game Warden Captain Tony Norton with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division, who oversaw the search, Karl and his nephew kept close to the shoreline. They attempted to make their way to the upper northwest end of the lake to catch fish from the mouth of Kings Creek.
The nephew indicated the men fished frequently and were pretty experienced fishermen, Norton reported.
“The nephew said that once they encountered stumps in the low water area, they moved into more open water and a high wave hit the boat and started filling it with water,” Norton said. “He then said another wave hit the boat and it began to sink, then it capsized.”
Norton said the nephew went to retrieve the life jackets that floated out of the boat and when he returned to the boat, he could not find his uncle.
“They were in water anywhere between six and 12 feet deep,” Norton said.
The nephew was able to call 9-1-1 with his cell phone, to which Henderson County’s system answered and dispatched Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department. They launched a pontoon boat to locate and retrieve the nephew. About an hour later, they found the nephew who had made his way to the island.
The nephew was treated for hypothermia, but was not injured and is at home recovering.
The game warden first initialized a rescue search for Karl in the area where the nephew was found. Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Kemp Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue found Karl’s boat on the other side of the island from where the nephew was located.
Sometime during the early evening Wednesday, the search became a recovery mission and the search teams stayed out on the lake until about 11 p.m.
About 8 a.m. Thursday, the game warden had three boats with scanners and sonar equipment resuming the search.
“We have mapped out grids to search the lake floor based on where the boat was found and taking into account the flow of the water,” Norton explained. Two of the search boats were equipped with Hummingbird scanners and one boat had equipment worth between $60K and $70K that is capable of producing pictures of the bottom of the lake, he explained.
At about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Karl’s body was found and retrieved by a diver.
“The body was found not too far from where the boat was found.” Norton said.
“We notified the family and the Justice of the Peace, Johnny Adams.”