The search for a Hazard man who was swept away Saturday night when the gates were opened at the Laurel Lake spillway went into its fourth day Tuesday, but officials say it is likely now a recovery effort.
Personnel from multiple agencies in Whitley and Laurel County were called to the scene at approximately 5:30 p.m. in response to a report of a male subject swept away by water when the spillway gates were opened to generate power.
The man was identified as 22-year-old Tyler Russell.
Woodbine Search and Rescue Captain Felicia Fore said Russell was one of four people who had taken the trail that runs below the dam where a number of swimming holes are located.
However, one of the group had already left when the siren sounded, while two others were stranded on the bank by the rushing water.
Woodbine Search and Rescue, London–Laurel County Rescue Squad, Ky. Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Oak Grove Fire Department, Whitley County Emergency Management, Laurel County Emergency Management, and Corbin Fire Department personnel responded to the scene to aid in the search.
Fore said personnel worked until approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday, returning to the scene at 7 a.m. that morning to continue the search.
“We were out there until about 9 p.m. Sunday searching,” Fore said.
Emergency personnel returned to the scene Monday and returned Tuesday.
Fore said crews are continuing to work the lower end of the Laurel River and Cumberland River areas.
A K9 detail was scheduled to be brought in Tuesday evening to aid in the search.
“I believe so, yes,” Fore said when asked if it was now a recovery effort.