Local woman goes missing while kayaking, found 20-plus hours later

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By Patrick Yost


After more than 20 hours, a Buckhead woman who had become separated from a companion while kayaking on the Apalachee River was found near the Greene County line by rescue workers last Sunday.

According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Jacqueline Bernard, 48, was found by rescue workers at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Bish said a man who had been kayaking with Bernard on Saturday reported near Apalachee Road and Trimble Bridge that his companion was missing at 8 p.m. Saturday. According to Morgan County Dispatch Call Logs, Oconee County Dispatch was alerted that Bernard was paddling upstream. Georgia State Patrol units were blowing their horns but, reports state, Bernard could not hear them.

At 10:38 dispatch reported that they had contacted the woman and advised her to get to the shore and wait. The call, however was disconnected and attempts to reach her again failed.

Several Morgan County Volunteer Fire units, Oconee County units, officers with the Georgia State Patrol, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Natural Resources then launched a search for Bernard. Bish said a Georgia State Patrol helicopter with infrared devices was also used in the search.

Bish said Bernard had wandered through the woods until she was discovered by search crews at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday.

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