Jet skier goes missing


Latest: 4:30 pm, 3/29/17, Wednesday  

SPRINGFIELD — A man missing after jet-skiing on Lake Springfield early Sunday morning is still nowhere to be found.

Loved ones are camped out patiently waiting for news of an update. They’ve been assisting officials in the four-day search. Police say they’ve yet to discover any new information.

Sangamon County Search & Rescue leaders say the search, previously split between the land and water, is now primarily focused on the water.

For now, boats and divers are still scouring the lake looking for any signs of hope. 

Update: 4:00 pm, 3/27/17, Monday

SPRINGFIELD — The search continues for a man who went missing at Lake Springfield. It’s the second day search and rescue officials have been at the lake.

The missing man is 46-year old Joseph J. Ayers who disappeared after going jet skiing early Sunday morning with a friend. Searchers were on the scene at 7 am, Monday, but nothing has really changed since Sunday.

Dozens of public officials and volunteers are searching both on land and in the water for any clues to the man’s whereabouts. Gone without a trace and now it’s been more than 24-hours since the man disappeared.

“The Department of Natural Resources is taking the lead on the investigation on the water. The Springfield Police Department is taking the lead on the investigation on the land, up to the point where they entered the water.”

It’s been a team effort as several agencies continue to scour the area where the man was last seen. According to police, the man arrived at the lake about 1:30 am, Sunday, to drive jet skis with a close friend.

But, after being separated, the man was nowhere to be found.

“We were notified that the individual who he went out with hadn’t returned home and that he hadn’t seen him so, since then, we’ve been out here on the lake.”

The search began early Sunday and resumed at 7 am, Monday. Divers are taking shifts plunging below the surface while boats use technology to detect anything out of the ordinary on the lake’s floor.

Officials are not calling the circumstances suspicious, but have some unanswered questions.

“We don’t know. We still got some questions that aren’t answered for us as far as the lighting conditions and those things that may have had a part in the disappearance.”

The man’s family does not want to speak with the media. Police say the search will continue until nightfall and will resume first thing Tuesday morning. 

Original: 6:00 pm, 3/26/17, Sunday

SPRINGFIELD — Police are searching for a missing person. They say, about 1:20 Sunday morning, two people set out on separate jet skis on Lake Springfield.

After separating on the water, only one skier returned home. Investigators say that person couldn’t get in touch with the other person later in the morning, so they contacted police.

The missing jet ski was found around 2 pm. Crews are still searching for the missing person.

Police, CWLP Lake Patrol, IDNR and Sangamon County Search and Rescue are working on this case. No other information is available.

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