The search continued late Wednesday and began again Thursday morning for a Gaston County boy, 14-year-old Ethan Danny Britt, who went missing after being separated from a friend on the South Fork River near Spencer Mountain Monday (June 10th).
Britt was reported missing about 11 PM Monday night, but details of how he went missing didn't become clear until Tuesday morning.
Bill Melton with Gaston County Emergency Management said Britt and another teen went into the river around 6:30 Monday evening near an old park just off the Dallas-Spencer Mtn. road. They were swept away by rising waters. Melton said the boys were even swept over a dam before the other boy, who was rescued, managed to get to an island.
Britt's father said when his son didn't show up Monday night, he went looking for him and found articles of his clothing near where the two went into the river.
Gaston County Police and Gaston Emergency Medical Services responded to the bridge over the river on the Spencer Mountain-Stanley Road shortly after 6:30 Tuesday morning when a caller told them a person was stranded on an island in the middle of the river near the road which goes from Spencer Mtn. to Hickory Grove Road south of Stanley. Upon being rescued, the other boy, David Winder, advised that he had been with Ethan Britt the previous evening and they had become separated while exploring the river area. He was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center for treatment but was later released from the hospital and was back at home Wednesday.
Gaston County Police, Gaston Emergency Medical Services, Gaston County Emergency Management, volunteers with the Spencer Mountain VFD and other local fire departments, Charlotte Fire Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Lincoln County deputies were searching the South Fork River and surrounding area for Britt Tuesday and continued their efforts on Wednesday. The search was now being coordinated at George Poston Park off the Spencer Mtn.-Lowell Road. Police held a second news conference late Wednesday afternoon and said they are still hopeful they might find Britt alive, that he may have been injured but may have made it to the river bank and be in need of help there. Drones from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office were being used to search from the air as the search on the ground continued.
Anyone who has seen or had contact with Ethan Britt is encouraged to contact the Gaston County Police by calling 9-1-1 or the County Police front desk at 704-866-3320. Police say the search will continue until they find Britt.