Search continues for overboard barge captain - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Search continues for overboard barge captain

(WMC-TV) - The U.S. Coast Guard, along with local search and rescue crews, are searching around the clock for a barge captain who fell overboard Wednesday night.

As the search continues on the water and in the air, the missing man's family is holding out hope that he is still alive.

Family members say 60-year-old Vernon Bumgarner from Louisiana is a veteran barge captain with decades of experience.

"He's been out on the water since he got out of the Navy," said his sister, Susan Santiago. "We're just hoping for the best and that he's on land somewhere and that he's alive."

Santiago and other family members across the country got word Wednesday night that Vernon had fallen off his boat while passing through DeSoto County.

Chopper 5 was the only news helicopter above the scene as county search and rescue crews worked through the night, combing a 15-mile radius around the area where Bumgarner fell in.

"As of right now the coast guard is still is still in an active search and rescue," said Lt. Ryan Gomez, U.S. Coast Guard.

Lieutenant Ryan Gomez says Bumgarner's boat was pushed in to the shore and was not moving at the time of the accident.

Search and rescue crews know exactly where he fell in because a crew member on board saw it happen. Unfortunately since then, investigators have determined he was not wearing a life jacket. The life jacket was found on board the vessel.

Bumgarner worked for Caillou River Towing out of Houma, Louisiana. A company employee would only say they are praying for the captain and his family. Bumgarner's family is asking the Mid-South to join them in prayer.

"Lots of prayers, that's all we're asking for just lots of prayers to bring him home," said Santiago.

Tunica County Wildlife officers have also joined in the search. The U.S. Coast Guard says they will continue searching for any sign of Bumgarner.

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