WHITWELL, Tenn. (WKRN) — A nighttime boating trip near Chattanooga turned deadly, for Ronnie D. Gholston, 24, of Whitwell.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), working alongside the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Rescue Squad and the Hamilton County Dive Team, said agents responded to a sunken vessel and missing person call on Nickajack Lake around 2 a.m. Friday, May 20.
TWRA said Gholston, along with two friends were bowfishing Thursday evening, when their 15-foot Lowe fishing boat began taking on water around 10:30.
The trio reportedly abandoned ship and headed for shore. As they swam, two men in the group observed that Gholston was no longer communicating with them. The pair swam to an island near Bennett Lake Access where they waited, without cellphone communication, for assistance.
Around 2 a.m. Friday, the pair, who was not identified by TWRA, heard someone near the boat ramp and yelled for help; that passerby called 911.
TWRA utilized side-scanning sonar and found Gholston’s body in over 40 feet of water. His body was transported to the Davidson County Forensics Center. The incident remains under investigation and there is no further information.