Witnesses said 62-year-old Dale Justus of Hope Mills was on a boat with a friend when he fell in the water and did not come back up. Authorities are not releasing the friend's name at this time. However, the friend attempted to save Justus, and was unsuccessful.
Multiple fire/rescue boats from Wake County, Lee County, Chatham County, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission took part in the search, which began Wednesday morning.
Officials at the scene said they're treating the incident as an accident. Neither Justus nor his friend were wearing personal flotation devices at the time of the accident.
Justus served in the military for more than 20 years and retired as an Army staff sergeant. Friends described him as a great guy.
David Bryant received a call from Justus' friend on the boat and was asked to call Justus' wife.
"He's a good guy. We played dominoes. He'd go to church ... he would socialize with the guys in the neighborhood," Bryant said. "We would go fishing all the time. This is one of these days he went fishing and this happened."
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