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Visibility, river conditions improve as search for hunters continues

Authorities were back on the Mississippi River Saturday as the search continued for two hunters missing since Dec. 3.

“We have nothing to report,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said as he and deputies searched the river Saturday afternoon. “We’ve been searching from where they put in at LeTourneau Landing to points south and still no recovery.”

Pace said the sheriff’s office’s boats have been searching from LeTourneau south to just inside the Claiborne County line. He said agents with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are putting in at LeTourneau, Port Gibson and Natchez.

Pace and Deputy Johnny Beauchamp searched the river Friday, but Pace said rough water pushed by high winds made the search difficult.

“Not only is it hard to use the boats, but the swells make it difficult to search the surface of the river,” he said. He said conditions were better Saturday.

The search for Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer of Brookhaven began late Dec. 3 after the two did not return from a planned hunting trip and were reported missing by their families.

Hughes and Palmer put out on the river from LeTourneau Landing that morning. Their truck and trailer were still at the landing when rescuers first arrived.

As the search for the young men entered its fifth week, Hughes’ father, Barry Hughes, wrote a Facebook post Dec. 28 asking people to pray for his son and the mothers of the two hunters.

“I know that I speak for all when I say we are thankful that God chose us to be their parents. Our prayers are that our loss will inspire boaters to practice boater safety to wear life preservers at all times, and that through this someone else’s life may be saved,” Hughes wrote.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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