'What happened here is a tragedy,' say officials still on the hunt for 23-year-old who went under at Clark's Hill Lake

Monday, July 29, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

Marquez Bey, 23, went under the water at Clark's Hill Lake over the weekend and never surfaced. (Source: The Bey Family)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Officials are still searching for the body of a 23-year-old who went under Saturday at Clark's Hill Lake and never resurfaced.

Investigators say Marquez Bey of Augusta and his uncle were canoeing when the canoe tipped over.

It's been nonstop at the lake Monday as rescue workers continued to search for Bey. It was the wake of another boat that flipped over the canoe in the first place, but DNR and fire rescue says it's not difficult to flip in the main channel with choppy water and boats up to 80 mph.

Regardless, two Fort Gordon soldiers – who don't wish to be identified -- are being credited as heroes for their actions in the wake of the incident.

But to them, their act of bravery boils down to one thing.

"Regardless a soldier, marine, airman, what have you, it comes down to being a good person and we need to be able to look out for each other regardless of the situation,” one of the soldiers said.

Even though Bey remains missing, the two soldiers say they are grateful they were able to at least save 46-year-old Joshua Bey’s life.

On Saturday, the soldiers were out on the lake when they noticed a canoe tipped over.

"We noticed there was an older gentleman who had been on board the canoe, hanging on about to slip into the water,” one of the soldiers said.

“He had said, ‘My nephew. My nephew’ and started going into shock,” the other soldier said.

Joshua was saved by the two soldiers, but Marquez was gone.

"We're doing all that we can,” Col. Thomas Barnard with DNR said. “We have every asset that's available in the state here today."

It's been three days of nonstop searching -- on land, water, and by air. The biggest obstacle? The size -- an area more than 640 acres wide with spots 100 feet deep.

"The environment that we're dealing with out there is very unforgiving for our sonar operators,” Barnard said.

Meanwhile, in the sky, Lt. Robert Steht is patrolling the skies in the DNR helicopter.

"What happened here is a tragedy,” Steht said. “The state does everything they can to try and come out and bring closure to the family if we can."

Closure for the Bey family, and the chance to say goodbye to Marquez -- their bright and positive young man -- who was taken all too soon.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved