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Missing kayakers found resting alongside river

JEWELL, Ga. - A search for two young men reported missing in Warren County following a kayaking venture on the Ogeechee River ended when a searcher found them resting at a campfire near the water early last Thursday.

The men were identified as Ethan Hunt and Brice Hawkins, both of Thomson, according to Warren County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sammy Purvis.

The two men, who left out on their voyage on Wednesday, were reported missing by their parents when they failed to return home.

It later was learned that the men had parked a vehicle near a boat landing in the tiny community of Jewell near the Warren-Hancock county line.

Deputy Purvis said the men launched their kayak from that area and traveled downstream until the water became too shallow. The men then began walking and carrying the kayak. After a while, the men became tired, lost and decided to build a fire along side the historic river.

A search team, which included local and state authorities, was immediately formed, Deputy Purvis said.

Searchers included deputies, members of the Warren County Fire/Rescue Services, Warren County Emergency Management Services, as well as rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division and a helicopter pilot with the Georgia Aviation Division.

The search began about 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday and continued until Mr. Hunt and Mr. Hawkins was discovered sitting by a campfire about 1:30 a.m. last Thursday, Deputy Purvis said. DNR Ranger Bryan Adams found the men after searching for them in wooded and swampy areas near the river about three hours after the initial search began.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Donna Branch, news director of WTHO radio in Thomson contributed to this story. The McDuffie Mirror and WTHO are news partners.)

Web posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010

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