Missing boaters found safe in Bladen County

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Two boaters reported missing were found safe (WTVD)

The search is over for two missing boaters after a report of their boat sinking in the Cape Fear River Saturday afternoon, as the two were found safe near White Lake.

Investigators were able to ping the missing boaters' phones near White Lake in Bladen County.

Investigators later discovered the two missing boaters went to a festival near White Lake and neglected to inform authorities they were OK.

One of the boaters told ABC11 the boat sank and they swam to shore. He also said their families were aware they were headed to White Lake, but did not pass along this information to the police.

According to the boater, they didn't know police were searching for them until they were found at the festival.

Officials responded around 6 p.m. Saturday after a 911 call from a mother who says she got a call from her son claiming he was in a boat with a friend that was sinking. According to authorities, the son didn't tell his mom where he was. His mother told dispatchers she believed it was in the Cape Fear River.

Our crew on the scene said authorities were searching between the Old Wilmington Road boat launch and the Bladen County line.

Fire crews from Cumberland County and Fayetteville responded. They searched for two hours. Authorities said they were looking for a row boat.

"After we had searched for a couple of hours, we found out that the phone last pinged in the area of White Lake and Bladen County Sheriff's Department is checking on that," said Battalion Chief Dennis Southern.

White Lake and the Cape Fear River are separate bodies of water and do not flow together.

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