Commercial vessels urged to help search for missing duck hunters

Published 9:11 am Friday, December 18, 2020

As the search for two duck hunters who went missing two weeks ago continues, authorities are reaching out to pilots on the river to help in their search.

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a notice to mariners on the Mississippi River asking commercial vessels on the river to watch for the two missing men.

Authorities continued scanning the Mississippi River Thursday but failed to find anything as the search for two missing duck hunters entered its second week.

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“We are still out here,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “The Sheriff’s office has two boats in the water and Wildlife and Fisheries has one. We are searching the surface and with sonar. We’re doing everything we can.”

He said the three boats put in from a private boat landing south of LeTourneau Landing and were searching an area just north of LeTourneau to the Claiborne County line near Port Gibson.

The search for Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer of Brookhaven, began late Dec. 3 after the two did not return from a planned hunting trip and were reported missing by their families.

Hughes and Palmer put out on the river from LeTourneau Landing that morning. Their truck and trailer were still at the landing when rescuers first arrived.

Since then, boats with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Agents, Madison Parish, La., Sheriff’s Office and volunteers have searched the river scanning the surface and using sonar to search the river bottom in an effort to find the young men.

The search at times has been augmented by aircraft and drones and land searches.