Family members still waiting for missing boater
By Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter
Investigators still aren't sure what caused a deadly boating accident this weekend. A barge slammed into a small fishing boat.
Three men were on board. One was saved, another was killed, and the third is still missing.
Officials have detained the barge that collided with the fishing boat.
Now TWRA and the Coast Guard are breaking apart the nine links checking for debris from the fishing boat that might be stuck between or underneath.
"The purpose of the investigation is to find out what happened, how it happened and ultimately to see what we can do to prevent it from happening again," says John Hoesli.
That's the end Coast Guard and TWRA officials are working for. At the Chickamauga Dam they continue to break apart the nine links of the barge that ran into the small fishing boat Saturday night looking for evidence or clues as to what happened.
"Fishing equipment, whatever was on board the boat may have gotten hung up underneath there," says Hoesli.
John Hoesli with the U.S. Coast Guard says they've also interviewed the men who were operating the barge Saturday night, even asking them to submit drug and alcohol tests.
"They did not see a fishing boat out there. They didn't know where the fishing boat was," says Hoesli.
Meanwhile back at Possum Creek boat dock in Soddy-Daisy family members of missing boater Ricky Wilkey are waiting.
"Well it's hard on everybody and just feel like they need to be family here when they bring him ashore," says Albert Wilkey, family member.
It's day two of the recovery mission for their loved one's body and the family knows chances of finding him alive are slim.
"I was told by the survivor that the last time he'd seen Ricky he was trying to do the back stroke and he was telling him swim towards the shore," says Wilkey.
That survivor is also family. David Wilkey is Ricky's nephew. Officials say David's perspective will be a key part of their investigation. He's already been questioned by TWRA and John Hoesli says he hopes to make contact soon.
"I just want to see what he saw from his point of view," says Hoesli.
We tried to contact survivor David Wilkey as well but the family asked us to hold off.
From statements he's already made to TWRA, it appears the barge was on top of the fishing boat before they realized what was happening.