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Weather still affecting ongoing search for hunters

Weather is causing problems for authorities as they continue their search for two duck hunters who went missing Dec. 3.

The search for Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer of Brookhaven has entered its third month since they were reported missing Dec. 3 after launching their boat on the Mississippi River at LeTourneau Landing to search for a hunting site.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said sheriff’s deputies continue to launch their search from LeTourneau Landing but recently efforts have been hampered because of rain.

“We try to put in every day weather permitting,” he said. “It’s just been several days because of the mist and rain. It’s not safe to do so.”

Pace said Saturday morning rain prevented any attempt to launch boats, adding the search could resume Saturday afternoon if the weather lifts. If not, the search will resume Sunday, weather permitting, he said.

The present rainy period is not the first time weather has played a role in search efforts. Rainy conditions in January and late December forced searchers to either get off the river or postpone searches. At other times waves from high winds made it difficult for searchers to scan the surface of the river.

Deputies with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have searched the Mississippi River since late on Dec. 3 when Hughes and Palmer did not return from a planned trip and were reported missing by their families.

Early in the search authorities were assisted by aircraft and drones and land searches and the U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice to mariners asking commercial vessels on the river to watch for the pair.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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