Fisherman found dead in Pickwick Lake

HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — The search for a missing fisherman has come to an end.

Friday morning, members of Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and Hardin County Fire Department recovered the body of a missing fisherman on Pickwick Lake.

Jimmy C. Franks, 72, was a commercial fisherman that lived nearby in the City of Counce. He was reported missing Thursday around 7:04 p.m.

Rescue units were deployed and searched for Franks that night until midnight.

They resumed the search Friday morning. After another fisherman found Franks’ nets he used, they were able to pinpoint a last known location. They found his body shortly after.

Officials said Franks’ body was submerged and tangled up in fishing nets and his boat was sunk at a depth of around 20 to 24-feet. After recovering the body, officials attached a winch to the submerged boat and began hoisting it to the surface.

“The boat was located on sonar right in where his body was located and recovered today also,” said Melvin Martin, Hardin County Fire Chief and Emergency Director.

TWRA officials determined the man was not wearing a life jacket at the time of his death. They want to stress the importance of wearing one, especially while in winter weather.

“Eighty-six percent of the fatalities in boating related incidents are because someone is not wearing a life jacket, and it’s even more important in the winter time to wear a life jacket because a human’s body temperature drops 25 times faster when immersed in cold water. And that can ultimately lead to hypothermia,” said Amy Spencer, who does Outreach and Communications for the TWRA.

Tennessee law states that children ages 12 and under are required to wear a life jacket at all times unless the boat is stopped and anchored or tied off. Adults do not have to wear a life jacket, but must have one on deck.

“This time of year, it’s very important. If you’re duck hunting or with winter time, with all your clothes on, if you should go in, you know you got to remember you got all that extra clothing on. That’s extra weight, water will fill in, and you will sink,” Spencer said.

The investigation is being conducted by TWRA and they are currently investigating how Franks’ boat sank.

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