110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Massive search continues on South Carolina river for man from Pierson
posted Jun 25, 2013 - 6:49:22pm
Thomas Patrick Hill, 51, hailed originally from the Pierson area. Today, June 25, searchers continued efforts to recover his body amid the torrents of the Chattooga River, near Greenville, S.C.
Hill was the son of the late Coach Tom Hill, who was principal and coach at T. DeWitt Taylor High School in Pierson, from which Thomas Patrick Hill graduated, and had also coached at DeLand High.
Thomas Hill, who lived in Tampa, was on a corporate retreat that included a rafting tour on the river with other members of the Sherwin-Williams Co. in Tampa, where he had worked for 27 years. He fell overboard in the "Sock 'Em Dog" rapids June 19.
Three other rafters went in the water in an effort save Thomas Patrick Hill, but they were unable to find him, his sister Nancy told The Beacon.
Hill's body was located the next day, June 20, wedged under rocks, but storms and high water made recovery impossible. The current caught Thomas Patrick Hill's body and moved it downstream. The search has continued off and on as weather conditions permitted.
This afternoon, the seventh day of the search continued, with an emphasis on safety, local officials said.
Search dogs, an underwater camera, the Greenville County Sheriff's Department, the Oconee County Fire Department, and the U.S. Forest Service have all participated in the search.
Incident Commander Scott Loftis said today as the search resumed, "Although we had a difficult day yesterday, we remain committed to conducting our work safely and returning Mr. Hill to his wife and children."
Thomas Patrick Hill is survived by his wife, Linda, their four children, and his younger sister, Nancy.
Thanks to Digital Managing Editor Carla J. Field at WYFF TV News 4 in South Carolina for her help with this story.
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