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Search for Missing Fisherman at Beaver Lake Suspended Until Thursday

CARROLL COUNTY, Ark. -- The search for a spear fisherman who went missing in Beaver Lake over the weekend has been suspended until Thursday.
CARROLL COUNTY, Ark. -- The search for a spear fisherman who went missing in Beaver Lake over the weekend has been suspended until Thursday.

KFSM reports the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's dive team, along with others in the area, will then pick up the recover efforts for Michael Burton, 28.

Disaster k-9 units from St. Louis were brought in Monday to assist in the search after teams of cadaver dogs from Sebastian County and Little Rock honed in on a location where the body might be.

"As a body decomposes, it gives off gas. So the gas that surfaces to the water when they take the dogs out in the boat then they will alert to the area when they pick up a decomposing gas," says Carroll County Sheriff Bob Grudek.

Dog handler Kyle Brownlow for Missouri Region C techinical rescue team says the dogs are trained just for land and water recovery 

"The water is more difficult tasking for the dogs because as the scent rises its going to travel with the water current and as it comes up out of the water the air will also dispurse the scent."

Once the dogs arrived back at the dam site campground divers were sent into the areas where the dogs picked up a scent, which was near the cove off of Starkey Island. That`s where authorities say Burton disappeared Saturday while free diving and spear fishing in murky water.

"Its a very dangerous drive and what makes it even more difficult is the fact they don't have any visibility," adds Sheriff Grudek.

Owner of C & J Sports on Beaver Lake, Jim Butler is one of the divers assisting in the search.

"I was in there about an hour each time and its cold down there and you can't see. I could not see how much air i had with my flashlight, it was so dark you just had to feel your way"

Officials say Burton was wearing a dive suit with heavy gloves and a 14 pound belt.

Grudek says with all the trees underwater and debris its possible burton could have gotten tangled up.

Butler also adds its a popular fishing area where there are fishing lines and hooks in the underwater trees.

"One of my divers this got caught up in fish hooks three times in the time we were down there so we had to cut loose."

According to KFSM, sonar equipment has been ineffective in the search because of all the trees underwater.

Additional information courtesy: KFSM
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