What began as a pre-dawn search and rescue effort for two fishermen on Kerr Lake just east of the mouth of the Canadian River in Sequoyah County ended successfully at approximately 10 am Sunday morning.
Phillip Harris, 49, and Michael Noeldner, 44, both of Vian were reported overdue returning home after going fishing near the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge south of Vian on Saturday.
Authorities including the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Dept., Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), US Wildlife officers and Oklahoma Game Rangers all assisted in the search. The 1994 Ranger Bass Boat was located capsized and underwater but the two men were not found with the boat. After further searching the men were located uninjured on land.
According to OHP officials the steering cable of the boat broke causing the vessel to make a sharp turn to the right ejecting both men. They were able to swim safely to the north shore. The boat continued to circle in the water and was found approximately two miles east of where the incident occurred.
Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart stated that the men spent the night in the woods after swimming to shore.
"They are tired and dehydrated but in good shape," stated Lockhart.
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