A Collierville man lost his life Saturday afternoon on Center Hill Lake.
The body of 57 year old Stephen R. Morris was recovered in about fifteen feet of water more than three hours after he fell off a jet ski and into the water. "It's been called a drowning and it probably was but we don't know that for sure. They have performed an autopsy but we don't have the results back on that yet, " said TWRA Officer Tony Cross during his weekly program on WJLE Monday morning.
"If you went straight out from the mouth of Holmes Creek in a southeasterly direction, which is back upstream, it was about a mile across on the other side of the lake. There are a couple of small coves and they had pulled up in there on a houseboat," said Officer Cross in describing where the incident occurred.
According to the TWRA, Morris was sitting on the back of a personal watercraft, which was attached to the house boat, when he fell off the back of it and never resurfaced. " There were a number of folks who were on the houseboat and the front of it was actually grounded on the shore. The victim was on a jet ski which was pulled up on one of the slides or ramps on the back of the houseboat. It (jet ski) was actually not in the water. Our guess is that some sort of medical issue may have happened. He was sitting on the jet ski when he fell off into the water and went under. That was it," said Officer Cross.
Members of the TWRA, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and Corps of Engineers began the search at around 4:00 p.m. "We were pretty sure we had located the body maybe within an hour or so with side scan sonar. Divers were called in from the Putnam County Rescue Squad and once they arrived on the scene and went down, it probably took only eight or ten minutes for them to locate the victim," said Cross.
TWRA Officer Cross praised members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad and others for their help. "I'd like to give a big shout out and thank you to members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad who came out. They were at the Jamboree working their booth when this happened but they all came down and helped us. The Corps of Engineers had several guys there too along with several of our guys (TWRA),” he said.