Rescue crews still hopeful they’ll find missing teen swimmer in South Fork River

Rescue crews still hopeful they’ll find missing swimmer in South Fork River

GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - The biggest thing rescue crews have said is that they haven’t given up hope. even though there hasn’t been a sign of 14-year-old Ethan Britt who went missing in the South Fork River on Monday.

In part of a 911 call that sent first responders to the river for the teenager, you can hear a driver frantically tell an operator that a boy was stranded in the rapid currents.

A man driving by saw the boy, who we now know is David Winder, struggling to stay afloat. Moments later, David would tell officials that he wasn’t alone and 14-year-old Ethan Britt was somewhere fighting the water too.

“We searched and searched these areas again,” said Bill Melton.

Melton who is with Gaston County Emergency services says police and fire crews from both Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties have helped to find the teenager.

“We haven’t given up hope of finding Ethan, but we now time is not on our side,” said Melton.

Search teams have traveled on land and in the water, but it was Lincoln County sheriff deputies who took their man power through the air with their drones.

Some crews who have been on boats have struggled to get through the high waters so the aerial view has been a huge help.

“It is extremely difficult and can be treacherous at times,” Melton added.

Crews have paused the search for Wednesday night and are going back to the drawing board so they can figure out what changes can be made for Thursday’s search.

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