Searching for Missing Country Singer Continues After 3rd Day

Craig Strickland went missing Sunday after going duck hunting with his friend and hunting companion, Chase Morland

Empty handed, crews in northern Oklahoma suspended their third day of searching for a country music singer from Arkansas who disappeared Sunday while duck hunting with a friend in severe weather, according to NBC News

Craig Strickland went missing after going duck hunting with his friend and hunting companion, Chase Morland, on Oklahoma's Kaw Lake. Search teams found the pair's capsized boat Sunday along with Strickland's dog, which was alive. Morland's body was recovered from the lake Monday.

Strickland is the lead singer of the Arkansas-based country-rock band Backroad Anthem. The band had been scheduled to perform Thursday in Little Rock, Arkansas, but that show has been canceled.

Crews searched Monday and Tuesday for Strickland but suspended the search at nightfall. The search picked back up Wednesday morning on Kaw Lake, which is 38 miles long and is near Oklahoma's border with Kansas. But by the end of the day, Strickland was still missing. 

Search crews employed a boat with a sonar that can locate submerged objects. Helicopters and ground crews also scanned the area on Wednesday. 

The search will continue at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to NBC News. And the search will be bulked up with one more boat, another helicopter, and a couple of search dogs from Missouri, the Oklahoma State Patrol said.

The band posted a Twitter message Tuesday from Strickland's father, Randy, who reported that the family was at the Kay County Sheriff's Office, where the power was out and running on a generator. Randy Strickland did not immediately return a message at his Oklahoma address seeking comment but said in the online post that Craig Strickland's dog, Sam, had been found.

The expansive terrain, coupled with the severe storms that pounded the area over the weekend, hampered rescue efforts, said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons. The severe rains and flooding are blamed for at least five deaths in Oklahoma and more than 100 injuries, according to state health officials. On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency after blizzard conditions affected parts of the state and heavy rains fell.

Kay County Sheriff Everette VanHoesen said the enormity and unpredictable nature of the lake catches many inexperienced boaters by surprise.

"It's a big lake, and when we have high winds, the lake will get whitecapped; the waves get pretty big," VanHoesen said Tuesday. "I understand these men were avid hunters. They knew what they were doing, but sometimes the size of our lake really tricks them."

A message posted to Morland's Twitter account before the pair set out read: "In case we don't come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm."

Strickland is married to former Miss Arkansas Helen Wisner, who posted a message on her Twitter account reading, "We love you Craig Michael. Come home."

The Highway Patrol said the search was suspended Tuesday evening due to darkness and was set to resume Wednesday morning.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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