Update – June 5, 2018
Oconee County Sheriff’s Office reported on its Facebook page that shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, the bodies of the two young men who went missing Friday in the high water were located. The two missing 18-year-olds were Bryant Wade of Oconee County and Cameron Smith of Madison.
“They were found roughly within five minutes of each other, and they were roughly 50-75 yards apart in McNutt Creek downstream from the confluence of Barber and McNutt Creeks. Representatives from both families were with the recovery teams,” the Facebook post read. It went on to ask that the families be given respect. “We truly appreciate of all of the emergency personnel from other locations who responded to assist in this effort as well as the overwhelming support from the community.”
Walton County’s Swift Water Rescue Team was one of the many rescue teams that responded to the tragedy over the weekend.
For the second day, Walton County’s Swift Water Rescue team is joining other teams to assist in the search for two teens that went missing Friday in the high waters on Barber Creek. Oconee County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday morning that other rescue teams assisting include Oconee County in South Carolina as well as from Athens, Madison County, Rabun County, Greene County, Putnam County and others. With water levels declining, OCSO is hoping for success today.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry reported that the Department of Natural Resource rangers responded to Barber Creek Friday night after two 18-year-olds were reported missing in the creek. One of the teens reportedly fell from the dam below the old Puritan rope mill and the second teen went into the water in an attempt to rescue him. With the creek levels critically high due to excessive rainfall over the past week, the conditions are dangerous for visitors as well as rescue teams. The creek is the boundary line between Clarke and Oconee counties with the beach side located in neighboring Oconee County. Several witnesses saw the two go into the water.
Walton County’s Swift Water Rescue Team is part of the Special Ops Team formed by Walton County Public Safety authorities three years ago. Dive certification was included due to the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir coming on line and being open to the public. The equipment will eventually be stored on location at the reservoir.