WATERLOO — The body of Nicolas Jeremy Smith was found around 9 a.m. Wednesday, two days after he jumped into the water from a pontoon boat, swam for a few minutes, went under and never resurfaced.

“Hardin County (Tennessee) Emergency Management officials keep rescue boats at Sportsman Marina on Pickwick Lake," said Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency Director George Grabryan. "They were making their way up river to meet up with other searchers when they spotted the man’s body.”

Grabryan said the body was found about a half-mile downstream from where the search had been centered near Yellow Creek.

“They were about a mile or a little more than a mile into Tennessee,” he said.

Senior Trooper Johnathan Appling, a public relations officer with Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, said the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department will take over as lead agency in the case.

Officials said the man’s body was sent to the Tennessee Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy.

Appling said the search began Monday afternoon after Smith, 36, of Memphis, Tennessee, jumped off the boat for a swim. Reports indicate he was on the boat with three other people.

“He swan around for a few minutes and then went under and didn’t come back up,” Appling said.

He said the area where the incident happened is near Yellow Creek, which is close to where Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi meet on the river.

Grabryan said the area is across the river from Grand Harbor, Mississippi, which is a popular place for boaters.

Waterloo Volunteer Fire Chief Ted Kavich said searchers used side scan sonar devices to try and locate the body. Other rescue personnel were walking the shoreline.

“They were searching an area of about two miles of water averaging around 10 feet deep, but there were some places it was as deep as 30 or more feet,” Grabryan said.

He said search and rescue personnel from Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama were involved.

“The cooperation was great. Everyone was trying to do all they could to find the man,” Grabryan said.

He said boats from Hardin County, Colbert and Lauderdale EMA, as well as boats from Killen and Waterloo volunteer fire departments, Florence fire and police departments, ALEA Marine Police Division and Mississippi Water Resources helped in the search.

tom.smith@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Twitter @TD_TomSmith.


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