The search for Jacob Sanders has stretched on nearly two weeks after the bassist for the band Velcro Pygmies disappeared along with his brother during a fishing trip in Alabama, and search crews say rough water and weather conditions have impacted their efforts.
Jacob Sanders was on a fishing trip on the Tennessee River along with his brother, Jeremiah Sanders, when their boat apparently struck some kind of obstruction and capsized. Search crews believe that have pinpointed where the bodies of the two men were located in the river, but difficult water and weather has held them back.
This week, search crews had to cut short their efforts, but authorities said they planned to continue on.
“Hopefully, the weather will be stable and we won’t have lightning in the area,” George Grabryan, director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, told the Times Daily.
“The river had a whole lot of chop to it, especially those areas that are real wide,” Grabryan added.
Colbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Melton said the efforts on Thursday were hampered by wind gusts that reached up to 25 miles per hour.
“It was a little added hazard,” he said. “It is March, and it’s supposed to be windy.”
Melton added that the search for Jacob Sanders has been stop and go, with crews having to stop efforts when the conditions become too dangerous.
“Mother Nature’s going to be in charge for just a little while, as far as affecting the small boats,” Melton said. “The larger boats, if it’s not really bad, they can get out and check a few things. We’re going to do our best to try and take care of our people, but get them out there as soon as we can whenever we can.”
While the search for Jacob Sanders continues, members of the Velcro Pygmies band and their fans have been organizing both search efforts and fundraising for the Sanders family. After a hiatus that started when Sanders went missing, the band returned to the stage this week with a series of benefit concerts.
“We will be with the Sanders family with heart and soul. But Jacob would be itching to get to the show and to concentrate on music and the crowd for a little while,” the band posted on its official Facebook page. “This show and every show we will ever play will have Jacob be a part of it.
“He’s influenced us on and off the stage.”
The Velcro Pygmies have also been one of the most active sources for updates, with members joining the search and offering fans regular news of efforts to locate the bodies of the missing brothers. It was the band who first shared on Facebook that divers were combing the river, facing difficult conditions.
“At about 8:30 this morning TVA shut off the dam giving us what we thought would be perfect recovery conditions. The divers went in and soon were faced with the unexpected challenge of the water level being too low. They found themselves in waist deep water which contrary to conventional wisdom made it nearly impossible to search. Our 3 hour time limit came rapidly and TVA was forced to turn on the turbines again. This increased the water level but also created an unsafe current in which to dive.”
The band and their fans have also come together for a memorial fund remembering Jeremiah and Jacob Sanders, one that to date has raised roughly $8,300 of the $10,000 goal.
But authorities said that the search for Jacob Sanders may not stretch on forever. Senior Trooper Jonathan Appling with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said this week that they will continue looking for the bodies of the two brothers and using resources as long as it is “feasible.”
[Image via Facebook]