By Jonquil Newland, Weekend Today Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
POLK COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- It's been seven days since Nick Alley, 36, his daughter Helana, 7, and son Lazarus, 6, fell into the Conasauga Creek when their canoe flipped.
"Everybody's been searching every day since this accident happened," Polk County EMA Deputy Director Dale Ray says.
At the time of the accident the creek was ten to 14 feet higher than normal and in some places 100 yards wide. Not a trace of the missing family members has been found since.
"Part of the problem is the creek banks. The creek banks are straight off and they are eight feet high," says Ray.
People like Stoney Mathews, with Bradley County Fire and Rescue, have spent every day in the water searching. "Tired, ready to have a resolve to it, ready for it to be over for the family, for all the volunteers," Mathews says.
Local churches help keep volunteers fed but their energy is waning. "We were putting in about ten or so hours here but that's the thing. A lot of people don't realize when we're done here we've got to go back to the building and clean everything up," says Mathews.
The search party is using kayak teams, sonar and cadaver dogs but the recent freezing temperatures have slowed the search just a bit.
Volunteers know the sunny weather won't last all week; all they can do is keep searching. "We're just going to have to see. We'll just have to see how it goes," says Ray.
Crews will continue searching through the weekend before any decisions whether to suspend the search are made.