Missing fishermen found after 24 hours - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Missing fishermen found after 24 hours

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A small army of volunteers worked into the night and again Thursday to find the men missing on Lake Palestine.

When the call came in DPS, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Sheriff's Office and multiple volunteer fire departments were just a few of the agencies that began scouring the lake, looking for Tommy Cook and Mike Ammons.

It took a crew of at least two dozen rescue workers more than 10 hours of searching to find the men. It was the DPS helicopter that proved vital in the end.

"The helicopter was in the air and had initially spotted a point of interest and was able to give those coordinates to the game wardens who moved their assets and their boats to start to search that particular area," DPS Trooper Jean Dark says.

Officials say that was when they found 64-year-old Tommy Cook's body.

About 45 minutes later, the helicopter located what they say looked like blue-jeans in the water.

"They were able to direct them to that location and really, miraculously, find Mr. Ammons clinging to a tree in the water," Dark says.

Officials say it's incredible he was able to hold on for so long.

"The conditions for searching last night were really treacherous. With the winds, the darkness, the choppy water, the cold," she says.

It was that cold, choppy water that started it all. Ammons was treated by medical staff as he told officials what happened earlier that day.

"He was able to describe to us exactly what I described to you, how things had happened and the events leading up to where we are right now," Dark says.

How the two men went fishing, their boat took on too much water, and sank.

Leaving them stranded in the lake, with water approaching fifty degree temperatures, praying for survival.

Officials say they were able to find Mike Ammons because all of these agencies were able to work so well together.

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Click here to listen to an exclusive interview with Mike Ammons at the hospital.

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