CLARENDON COUNTY, SC — The body of a man who fell off a boat in Lake Marion on Wednesday has been recovered.
Todd Bryan Hamm, 45, of Creek Road in Timmonsville, disappeared about noon while on a fishing trip with his son. His body was found by the Department of Natural Resources about 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Deputy Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock confirmed the remains pulled from the lake were Hamm's, ending a 43-hour search by DNR. Several department boats were deployed in the search around the Potato Creek area, including a dive team that scoured the bottom for any sign of the missing boater.
Hamm and his 18-year-old son reportedly set out on a fishing trip Wednesday from the Potato Creek landing in a War Eagle jon boat. But at some point, both Hamm and his son were apparently thrown from the boat, for reasons that have yet to be determined.
“That's a part of the investigation,” said DNR spokesman Capt. Robert McCullough. “That kind of boat has tiller-steering on the engine, and they have a tendency to tip when taking sharp turns.”
The younger man was able to get a life jacket out of the boat and was rescued, but his father reportedly disappeared beneath the water.
McCullough called the search a “recovery operation” early Thursday morning, meaning investigators had little hope of finding Hamm alive.
Rescuers were called to the area where Hamm was last seen about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the boater went missing. Searching continued until Wednesday evening, and recovery operations continued all day Thursday. Searchers looked beyond the area around the landing without success. Hamm was reportedly found on the surface of the water when the search resumed Friday morning.
Mock said Friday that Hamm's body had been sent to Charleston for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The tentative cause of death is thought to be drowning.