Search for Velcro Pygmies member, brother continues amid hazardous currents

Published: Mar. 3, 2016 at 11:12 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2016 at 10:41 PM CDT
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2 fishermen went missing Wednesday night; their boat was recovered near the Singing River...
2 fishermen went missing Wednesday night; their boat was recovered near the Singing River Bridge. (Source: WAFF)

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - Officials have resumed searching for a pair of brothers who went missing Wednesday.

Multiple agencies spent most of Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon on Pickwick Lake searching for brothers Jeremiah and Jacob Sanders.

Authorities launched the search just before 8 p.m. Wednesday after family members said the brothers never returned from a fishing trip on Pickwick Lake.

The search area spans from Wilson Dam down past McFarland Park.

Thursday morning's weather forced crews to suspend search efforts until just before noon.

Officials said the strong current hindered search efforts Thursday and made it hard for scanners to see under the water again Friday - also making it difficult to use other resources.

"We use a standard group for cadaver dogs, and we've had a high degree of success with the group that we use," said George Grabryan with the Lauderdale County EMA. "With the current and not knowing the exact location of where these folks went in, that makes it difficult to use that type of resource."

MORE: Missing fishermen ID'd as band member, area restaurant manager

Just after 2 a.m. Thursday search crews located the boat upside down, lodged next to a piling on the Singing River Bridge, but no sign of the brothers.

"There's always a possibility that they are still alive, chances are and the probability is we're in a recovery operation," said Lauderdale County EMA Deputy Director, Tim Greer.

According to social media site Facebook, we've learned 24-year-old Jacob Sanders is the bass player for popular 80s cover band the Velcro Pygmies.

His brother, 29-year-old Jeremiah, who we're told also goes by Jim, is the general manager of Ricatoni's restaurant in downtown Florence.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim and his family and we're still hoping for the best," expressed Ricatoni's Owner Ric Elliott.

Elliott said he also assisted in search efforts using his personal plane to survey the area Thursday morning.

He said Jim was an avid fisherman and found comfort in sharing a story about him getting a sponsorship by a small company.

"He was thrilled and in his next life he would like to make a living as a professional fisherman and I think sometimes when we talk about leaving and you leave doing the thing you love somehow it takes a little bit of the hurt," said Elliott.

ALEA's helicopter returned to the sky Friday to search both land and water from above.

Meanwhile, dozens of volunteers have flocked to Pickwick Lake to help look for the brothers. Some walked the banks while others went in private fishing boats.

As the weekend draws closer, authorities are warning boaters to be extra careful if they plan on being in the water.

"Be conscious of the current that's out there right now, because that's a tremendous hazard," said Grabryan.

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