Jacksonville assists Clay County in pond search

26-year-old not seen since canoe overturned early Saturday morning

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Jason Mealey - Producer/assignment editor

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - More than 36 hours after a canoe carrying three people flipped over in an Orange Park pond, rescue crews continue to search for a man they say vanished into the water. 

Authorities have identified the missing man as 26-year-old Richmond Gard-Chambers.  A woman who was also in the canoe was able to swim to shore and a second man was rescued on Saturday morning.

Sunday afternoon, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office dive team arrived to assist Clay County's search and rescue teams.

"They have some specialized equipment. Hopefully we'll be able to see underwater electronically, and hopefully get a fix on where the victim might be," said Sgt. Eric Twisdale with the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Officials say heavy growth and vegetation has made the search hard.

"The hydrilla is just nothing like I've ever seen in any kind of lake. The only vessel we have that is effective is the air boat that Game and Fish has provided," said Twisdale.

Several neighbors told Channel 4 they heard screaming at the time of the accident. Robert Land, who says he's seen kids from other neighborhoods swim in the lake says he has been concerned about it for a while.

"I've complained to management about it. They're getting some 'no swimming' signs hopefully soon. They can post those. Once they go up they can put it in the contract," said Land.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office says it has no plans to leave until the victim is found.

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