Search Continues For Drowning Victim

A second day of searching by rescue divers, but still no sign of a drowning victim at Lake Cherokee. A 23-year-old male was on a picnic yesterday afternoon on Lake Cherokee in Rusk county, on the south shore near FM 1716.

"We started search operations again this morning about 7 o'clock.  We've had divers down most of the morning," said Texas Game Warden Kirk Permenter, the lead investigator .

Divers from Longview and Gregg County were again combing the Lake Cherokee waters looking for a 23-year-old victim who disappeared while swimming after his drifting boat.

"The water depth is approximately 25 to 30 feet where we're searching.  That makes it more difficult in search operations," said Permenter.

The victim is identified as Daniel Sides of Allen Texas, who was picnicking with friends. Daniel was having a picnic with his friends over on tiny firecracker island when his pontoon boat began to drift away, and he swam after it. About 75 yards off shore he struggled, and then disappeared.

"Several factors: the wind was blowing, he was swimming after a boat, if he got fatigued, if he cramped up, we don't know why he went down," Permenter said.

He was a healthy young man who had remarkably recovered from a near fatal car crash to go onto college. His tragedy had even the divers trying to help friends cope with his loss.

"We want to make sure the family has an air of closure.  We don't want to leave them with any kind of questions they have unanswered," said Longview dive captain Shane Rust.

Family and friends are now left with remembering the good things about a good young man who's life was cut short. Daniel Sides was attending Stephen F. Austin University.

He would have graduated this year. Investigators say they will drag the lake tomorrow trying to find some sign of where his body is.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.