Missing fisherman in Walhalla found, crews working to rescue him

Local News

UPDATE (10/4) – Missing Walhalla fisherman, Jeff Griffith, was found Monday.

Oconee County Emergency Management found Griffith off the Chattooga River near the fisherman’s trail.

“Found him on the Georgia side, and they made contact with him and they’ve actually crossed the river and they’re providing first aid to him,” said Scott Smith, Deputy Director, Oconee County Emergency Management. “He was out of the water when they made contact with him,” Smith said. “It is a good sigh of relief to know that we’ve made contact with him and he’s alert and he’s talking to us. So far everything is working out good for us.”

As of 5:00 p.m. Monday, Smith said Prisma Health is providing medical care at this time.

“When he told us that he was stable, in very good condition except with a bumped-up leg, we were just totally relieved,” said Allen Griffith, Jeffrey’s dad.

Following this incident, emergency crews and Griffith’s father are sending advice to everyone.

“So any time you go to a river like this, Chattooga River where it’s very remote and you’re actually hiking quite a ways to get into it, I like to recommend that you prepare in the event that you might get stranded out here overnight. Bring extra food, extra water. If you could do any type of shelter capability, that’s a benefit,” Smith said. “Try not to come alone if you can help it because, usually if you do come alone and you do get hurt and something happens, it’s going to take awhile for someone to realize there is a problem.”

“If you go out anywhere get yourself one of those SPOT devices. You can get them at any store like Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop. If you get into a situation you just hit the button, it sends out a signal and it tells exactly where you are and he’s going to have one of those now,” Allen said.

Griffith’s father said he is glad the family will be reunited again.

“His mom says I better tell him we’re glad you’re okay and I’m going to lock up all your fishing equipment,” Allen said.

WALHALLA, S.C. (WSPA) – Rescue crews will continue searching the Cherry Hill Recreation area on Monday for a man who went missing during a fishing trip.

According to Oconee County Emergency Management, crews are looking for Jeff Griffith, who left on Friday for a one-day fishing trip. Family members became concerned when he did not show up for work Saturday. Griffith was fishing at the Chattooga River near the Oconee State Park.

“Well they’ve been of course anxious, since we found out that he didn’t go to work Saturday morning like he was supposed to,” Allen said. “My first thought was that if he went fishing and didn’t show up, something happened to where he can’t get back to his vehicle.”

The Oconee County Search and Rescue Team had five crews searching the area for Griffith. Friends of Griffith’s found his vehicle unaccompanied roughly two miles away on Big Bend Road in the Sumter National Forest.

Given the wet and dark conditions, crews will resume searching Monday morning.

If you have any information regarding Griffith’s whereabouts, you’re asked to call 911.

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