Search continues for missing boater at Lake Kaweah

FRESNO, Calif. Family member and friends identify the man as 46-year-old Mark Burgess of Tulare. He fell out of a boat Sunday after a collision with a jet-ski on Lake Kaweah, east of Visalia.

The search was called off at sunset Monday night and Tuesday will resume at sunrise using both manpower and machine. Tulare county sheriff's department search crews are determined to bring the victim's family some closure.

As the sun set on the busy holiday weekend Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies wrapped up a somber day of searching at Lake Kaweah. 46-year-old mark burgess hasn't been seen since around 6:30 Sunday evening, when a boat he was in collided with a jet ski.

The two people in the jet-ski dove into the water and avoided injury. But all five people in the boat were ejected. After the crash, the boat kept going, circling at full throttle as other boaters came to the rescue.

"As the boat is literally going around in circles, people rushed into the center of that circle and get 'em out of the water," said Capt. Jim Hinesly with the Tulare County Sheriff's Dept.

The other passengers suffered only minor injuries. But burgess never resurfaced. The boat eventually crashed into the shore, and went airborne, leaving several marks upon impact.

The investigation into the crash continues, but the main focus is finding burgess. Anxious family and friends are waiting for any word.

"I was devastated. Um, just because, we want to find him, closure," said Melissa Burgess, Mark's cousin.

Friends say burgess was a building contractor, who was well-known and well-liked in the south valley.

Divers went underwater to search for him. And when they couldn't go deep enough, they dropped remote controlled sonar equipment into the lake. At nightfall authorities suspended the search, disappointed but eager to return.

"We're not gonna give up, still gonna come back out here, try to offer some closure to the family."

Searchers say they will have to expand their search Tuesday morning to include a wider area of the lake, and they will also bring in a second piece of sonar equipment.

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