LAKE MARTIN, AL (WSFA) - What was supposed to be a fun day out on the lake for a group of friends took a dangerous turn on Lake Martin and sparked a massive search operation in Tallapoosa County.
In the face of relentless heat, first responders have been working nonstop to find a man who went out on the water to swim and fish with a group of coworkers, but didn't make it back to their boat.
The Alexander City Police Department received a call Monday around 6 p.m. about a possible drowning on Lake Martin near the Alexander City boat ramp, located off of Coley Creek Road.
Officers responded and assisted in the search on the lake and Tallapoosa River. A mobile command center was set up at the boat ramp.
"We're searching for a white male in his early to mid-forties. He went missing Monday around 6 p.m.," said Detective Riley Foshee with the Alexander City Police Department. "Officers responded out here and assisted in the search. It was called off around 10 p.m. and the search resumed around 8 a.m. Tuesday."
At the time of the incident, police say there was one person on the boat and several other people swimming with the possible drowning victim when he went under the water and didn't resurface.
"They were out on a boat and had gotten off the boat and were swimming around it and the individual came up missing," said Alexander City Police Chief Jay Turner.
The man's name was not released, but officials say he is from Georgia and does know how to swim. The water was approximately 30-feet deep where he went under, the chief said.
The Alex City Police Department, Alex City Fire Department, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alex City Rescue Squad and Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department were taking part in the search operation.
"We are still treating it as a rescue. The longer the time span goes, it will turn into a recovery. We've had state helicopters out here, the Marine Police and the rescue squad. There are approximately eight boats that have been at this end of the lake grid searching the area," Chief Turner said.
Police indicated the man's family had arrived from out of state and was on the scene waiting for news of any developments, along with the friends that were with him when he went missing.
"We'll be here however long it takes," Detective Foshee said. "If we haven't had any success today, we'll be here around the clock tonight and into tomorrow. We're searching a fairly large area."
The Red Cross provided assistance to relatives and search crews on Tuesday. Chief Turner praised the hard work and dedication of those involved in the search efforts.
"Most of our situations with missing persons or drownings usually occur closer to the shore. We don't have many incidents where someone is out on a boat. Luckily for us, the Alex City Rescue Squad is very equipped. They have been using sonar, along with searching the bank areas," he explained.
Investigators said crews would remain on the scene after dark and continue searching into the evening and overnight hours.