Two area teens drowned while noodling in Century Lake just west of Sulphur Springs around lunch time Friday. A third man was rescued by a fisherman in a boat on the lake, according to police.
Clay Mitchell of the Sulphur Bluff area and Doyle Brooks of the Bogata area, both 19, had been recovered from the lake by 9 p.m. Friday and pronounced dead at the scene by County Judge Robert Newsom and Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup.
Brooks, Mitchell and Rob Ward were noodling in Century Lake, where the old dam was broken when Lake Sulphur Springs was created, during the noon hour when one of the trio was swept away by the current, which was moving more swiftly than usual due to Thursday night’s storms, according to Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Jay Sanders.
The two other men noodling with him attempted to help him, but also soon began to be pulled away by the current.
Randy Carter of Sulphur Springs was fishing from a boat down from the old dam at the lake and saw and heard the young men in distress.
“He got over as quick as he could to help. By the time he got over, only one – Rob Ward – was still there. His friends had already been swept further down,” Sanders said.
By the time officials were contacted and responded, it was too late to save the two other men. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials responded with equipment, police reported.
The young victim’s families had been contacted by 3 p.m. Central Baptist Church volunteered its facility to serve as a waiting area for the families.
Using “good witness” accounts, officials were able to narrow a search pattern down to a specific area of the lake. Due to the thickness of the silt, sonar was used to pinpoint what officials believed to be the two men’s bodies about 75 to 80 yards off the dam.
“They located and recovered them pretty quick after that. They were fairly close together,” said Sanders.
One victim was recovered from Century Lake around 7 p.m. and the second a short while after that.
Autopsies were ordered for Mitchell and Brooks, as is standard procedure in these types of deaths.
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