Lake search

Rescue teams search for two missing boaters at Sparta Lake Park on Belton Lake on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. 

BELTON — The search continued Wednesday for a missing man after two canoes capsized early Tuesday morning on Lake Belton.

Scott Weinhold, 25, who just completed four years as a soldier, was still missing Wednesday. Weinhold is originally from New Hampshire, according to his Facebook page.

Three men were fishing between 2 and 3 a.m. Tuesday when their canoes capsized. One man safely swam to shore, started a fire and was rescued Tuesday morning.

The body of one man was recovered from the lake late Tuesday afternoon, but his identity hasn’t been released yet. It’s unknown if the man was a civilian or a Fort Hood soldier.

Searchers gathered at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Sparta Valley Park near Belton to resume the search, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot said.

Although Tuesday’s focal point was around the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area at Fort Hood, Lightfoot didn’t know where the search would concentrate, he said.

Weather affects search

The water temperature Tuesday was between 48-50 degrees Tuesday, and hypothermia was a serious concern in those temperatures, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Manager Ronnie Bruggman said.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the temperature outdoors was 40 degrees but the wind chill made it feel like it was 30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The wind was from the northwest at 20 mph, with gusts up to 29 mph.

By 3 p.m., the temperature was 51 degrees, and it felt like 45 degrees. The wind was still an obstacle, with gusts up to 28 mph.

The temperature plus the choppy water conditions would hamper the search, Bruggman said.

“The cold weather and windy conditions will make things challenging for searchers, but they are trained professionals and I have every confidence they will take whatever steps are necessary,” Lightfoot said.

Bruggman also talked about the turbidity caused by the fresh inflow of flood water into Lake Belton and underwater obstacles.

Agencies involved

A Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife search and rescue team is leading the effort, along with assistance from a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter and the Morgan’s Point Resort dive team. Fort Hood officials have offered the use of its rescue team, Lightfoot said.

Drones were used to search.

If Weinhold wasn’t located by sundown, Lightfoot said the search would probably stop for the night and resume Thursday.

“Fort Hood officials are aware of this unfortunate incident. Texas Parks and Wildlife have the lead in the search efforts. Fort Hood emergency officials are providing support as requested by the Texas Parks and Wildlife,” officials said Wednesday.

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