Authorities searching for missing swimmer in Wimbee Creek

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 27, 2013 

A man swimming in Wimbee Creek in northern Beaufort County was pulled away from shore Monday afternoon, apparently by a strong current, and rescue crews searching by boat and helicopter did not find him.

Crews called off the search at about 6:30 p.m. Monday, said Capt. Scott Johnson of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. The search will resume Tuesday morning, Johnson said.

"We cannot confirm we have a drowning yet," he said. "Right now, we have a missing person in the water."

Authorities say the man was swimming alone off the Wimbee Creek Boat Landing in the Dale area at about 2:15 p.m. when he disappeared. Johnson said area is known for having a strong tidal current.

First responders from the Sheriff's Office, Sheldon Fire District, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Beaufort Water Search & Rescue searched the area by boat while a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter combed the scene from above.

"There is a Coast Guard helicopter flying over the marshes and water out here as we speak," Johnson said at about 5 p.m.

Wimbee Creek is accessible by a narrow dirt road connecting from Keans Neck Road in Dale.

The waterway drains into the Coosaw River and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.

Attempts to reach Sheldon Fire Chief Buddy Jones for comment early Monday evening were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

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