Dive Team Commander Spotted Boats Day Before Body was Recovered from SML
Smith Mountain Lake, VA - The commander of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' statewide dive team spotted two sunken boats using side-scanning SONAR a day before the recovery of a man's body from Smith Mountain Lake.
Senior Conservation Police Officer Jeremy Hood found their location Friday afternoon. The spot was marked with a buoy.
"I could make out the outboard motor on the bass boat. I could even see the fishing poles on the back of the cruiser," said Hood. "I knew I had found the boats at that point, I wasn't sure if Mr. Lemons was there or not."
"When he says I'm 100% sure, then I am too," said Sgt. Karl Martin, DGIF District Supervisor. "In this instance there were divers sent below the surface that were in a hazardous environment. As long as he's going to have other people go, he'll go himself and he has."
Hood, who is based in Pittsylvania County, and a second diver from Southampton County made two 20 minute dives Saturday afternoon. The first confirmed the location of the boats and the body of Ronnie Lemons, 100 feet below the surface. Lemons' body was recovered on the second dive.
Lemons, 73, had been missing since July 31, when Conservation Police say the bass boat he was on collided with a cruiser boat.
A funeral for Lemons will be held Thursday.