Crews from five agencies on Thursday searched the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Martin Parish for a Baton Rouge firefighter reported missing Wednesday by his wife after he was separated from their boat at the Belle River Public Boat Launch.
Although the incident occurred in St. Martin Parish, Assumption Parish deputies responded first to a 911 call from Jacob P. Lewis’ wife, Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said Thursday.
Lewis, 28, of Walker, and his wife went out at 1 p.m. Wednesday to scout areas to set crawfish traps in the Intracoastal Waterway, Waguespack said.
After the scouting, Waguespack said, the couple went back to their truck at the launch and Lewis backed the truck down to attach the boat to the trailer.
Lewis’ wife was in the truck and noticed, after a little time, that the boat didn’t hit the trailer, Waguespack said.
When Lewis’ wife got out of the truck she saw the boat adrift and Lewis in the water trying to swim and hollering for her to call 911, Waguespack said.
Lewis’ wife lost sight of him after that, the sheriff said.
Adam Einck, spokesman for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the search for Lewis resumed at daylight Thursday.
On Wednesday, emergency responders from the sheriff’s offices in St. Martin, Assumption and East Baton Rouge parishes, LDWF and volunteer firefighters manned 10 boats to search for Lewis.
“It’s a search and rescue until we find him,” Einck said. “They’ll work as long as there’s daylight, then resume the search at first light in the morning.”
Baton Rouge Fire Department officials have been assisting in the search as well, spokesman Curt Monte said. Lewis is a four-year veteran of the Fire Department, Monte said.
“We’re still out here and hoping for the best,” Monte said.
Jim Mustian and Billy Gunn contributed to this report.
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