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Published: Monday, 7/17/2006

Search unsuccessful for local man missing from fishing boat

WEST SISTER ISLAND, Ohio - A 25-year-old Toledo man is feared to have drowned in Lake Erie on Saturday during a fishing trip with two other Toledo men.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and two boats - carrrying a total of 11 coast guard crewmen - searched for Scott O'Dell for more than 13 hours in the waters near West Sister Island, which is about 12 miles north of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. The search was called off about 9 a.m. yesterday.

Authorities, who were notified of the apparent drowning almost two hours after it occurred - apparently because the men did not have a mobile phone or a radio on their boat and traveled about 20 miles back to their marina to call for help - took down two versions of what happened.

Donald Bork, 63, said the three men were fishing about 500 yards off West Sister Island when the wake of a boat caused Mr. O'Dell to fall in the water. Mr. Bork said he and Jack Snyder, 36, jumped into the water, but they were unable to find Mr. O'Dell.

Mr. Snyder, however, according to reports, said that Mr. O'Dell had jumped into the water to swim while the men were fishing. When they realized they had not seen him in a while, they jumped into the water to look for him, but were unsuccessful, according to reports.

The men, including Mr. O'Dell, were thought by authorities to have been intoxicated when Mr. O'Dell entered the water, according to reports received by Scott Giard, controller for the U.S. Coast Guard station in Detroit. It was unclear from reports how long the men looked for Mr. O'Dell before returning to their marina to call for help.

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