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Emergency services search Lake Hartwell for reported distressed person in water

David Ferrara, News Editor

Emergency crews deploy an underwater drone after detecting something on the lake floor.

Emergency services responded to a 911 call early Friday morning about a person reported to be in distress in Lake Hartwell, north of the Highway 123 bridge connecting Pickens and Oconee counties.
The call came in from a nearby condominium complex, where a person saw someone screaming in the water by a red buoy, according to Oconee County Emergency Management at the scene.
Pickens County Emergency Response sent out a SONAR boat to look for any anomalies on the lake floor, which was reported to be around 40 ft deep. Upon detecting an object, the crew deployed an ROV, remotely operated vehicle, underwater to search for the object.
The ROV, upon finding a target, can latch onto it and pull it above the water if it is not too heavy. If it cannot pull it up, it can hold onto the target until a diver is able to follow the tethered line down.
Multiple units responded to the scene, including Clemson Police, Clemson Fire, Oconee County Emergency Management, Pickens County Special Operations Water Response, and National Park Rangers from the nearby Twelve Mile Recreation Area.
As the day wore on, emergency personnel continued to search the area. Four divers are suited up and prepared to enter the water at dangerously low temperatures in order to further the search.
An ambulance and medical personnel were on the scene to monitor the diver’s vitals after they exited the water.
At this time, Pickens County Emergency Response has paused the search until Saturday at 10 A.M.
This is a developing story. The Tiger will update with more information as it becomes available.

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