Winchester man apparently drowns in river on Saturday

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Lee Kendall,
News Writer


A Winchester man fell from a boat on Saturday morning, Sept. 8, close to Terry Dam, and hasn’t been seen since.
Harold Porter Lamb, 77, was fishing with Anthony “Hank” Durham, close to the dam, when problems with the their trolling motor led to catastrophe.
The boats had put in at the River Road Park boat ramp in the South Fork of the Licking River, just below the John Hunt Morgan Bridge.
“Mr. Durham was rescued and he later stated that they were trying to work on the trolling motor when the shaft broke and the motor fell in the water,” Harrison County Search and Rescue director Re’Jeana Craft said on Monday morning at a meeting of leadership from the different Harrison County first responder units. “Mr. Durham then went to start the main motor and Mr. Lamb, for some reason stood up in the boat. The boat capsized and Mr. Durham grabbed a hold of the motor and used a fishing net to try to get Mr. Lamb back to the boat. Unfortunately, Mr. Lamb couldn’t grab the net and he went under.”
Craft said the incident occurred around 7:40 a.m., 40 minutes after a fishing tournament began.
She said that another fishing boat was in the area and rescued Durham by throwing him a rope and pulling him to their boat.
“It’s my understanding that Mr. Lamb nearly drowned a couple of weeks ago at Kincaid Lake,” Craft said. “At his wife’s request, he promised to use a life jacket, which she purchased for him. But he left the life jacket in his vehicle on Saturday.”
Harrison County Search and Rescue arrived on the scene and had its first boat in the water by 8 a.m, but was unable to locate Mr. Lamb.
At about 11 a.m., the search was suspended due to heavy storms.
By 1:53 p.m., the search was suspended for good, with rising water in the river and more storms.
“It just became too dangerous for us to continue the search,” Craft explained.
Craft said the search would not be able to resume until Thursday at the earliest, providing there is no more rain between now and then.
Jason Perry, also from HCSAR, said the water level was at about seven and half feet when the search began on Saturday, but had risen significantly above that level by the time the search was called off on Saturday afternoon.
“Flood stage for the river is 20 feet and it’s expected to crest at about 21.4 feet on Monday afternoon at about 5 or 6 p.m.,” Perry said. “If we don’t get any more rain, it should be back down to that seven-foot level by Wednesday.”
If the water recedes to the seven-foot level, Craft said cadaver dogs would be brought in to search brushy areas along the river between Terry Dam and A. Keller Dam.
“We won’t be able to get back to the two dams until probably Thursday some time,” she said.
In the meantime, Sgt. Nathan Linville of the Cynthiana Police Department will use his drone to search the river between the two dams.
Linville said the drone is capable of magnifying images several times. He said the range of the drone is three miles.
Also assisting with the search effort were representatives from both the Pendleton County and Nicholas County Search and Rescue teams, along with Harrison County, Paris and Scott County Fire Departments and the Cynthiana Police and Fire Deparments.
“I would like to thank the folks at the Cynthiana McDonald’s and Hardee’s restaurants for providing food for our people, and also the good people at Speedway for supplying us with coffee,” Craft said.
Craft said the Pendleton County Search and Rescue team is monitoring the river, downstream toward Falmouth.
“We hope to be able to recover Mr. Lamb’s body before the next round of rain that is supposed to come in this weekend,” Craft said.
At Monday’s meeting, Craft told the leaders of the first responder teams that the safety of search teams was of paramount importance.
“Tell all of your people that everyone who arrives to search, must sign in,” she said. “We need to know who and how many are on each boat that goes out to help in the search. Everyone who is within 10 feet of the river must be wearing a life vest.”