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Body of missing boater found in Savannah River
Georgia DNR: Cause of death yet to be determined
W DNR Ranger Badge

Divers and rescue workers pulled the body of a man missing since Saturday from the Savannah River Monday morning.

Charles Winfield Morrell Jr., 51, from Effingham County, died after a boating accident Saturday, said Mark McKinnon, public affairs officer with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Morrell was boating near the Blue Springs landing in Screven County when, according to witness reports, it appeared the boat flipped and landed on top of him.

Morrell's body was taken to the Screven County coroner's office, where examinations are being done to determine the cause of death, McKinnon said.

The Georgia DNR law enforcement division is leading the investigation. The search involved help from the Newington Fire Department, Georgia State Patrol, South Carolina DNR and sheriff's departments and EMS from Screven, Effingham and Burke counties and other agencies, he said.

Screven County sheriff's Investigator Brett Dickerson said Morrell's body was found "a short distance downstream" of the accident location.

McKinnon said the investigation into reasons for the accident could take up to eight weeks, as investigators will interview witnesses and inspect the boat thoroughly.

"Any time we have a boating accident, we conduct a very thorough investigation."

"I'm glad we were able to find him today," he said Monday. "It's not the outcome you want," but locating the victim's body should give family members some closure, he said.

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.