Family holds out hope missing boater will be found alive

The Department of Natural Resources is into its third day in the search for missing boater John Williams, 63, on the Great Pee Dee River at Dewitt's Landing off of Old River Road near Pamplico.

DNR crews are searching by boat and plane in and around the river.

Williams had been camping at the river with his family.

Relatives say it's a family tradition after Thanksgiving to camp, hunt and fish on the river.

Charlotte Parnell, his daughter, says this past Friday night her father was boating with her husband in separate boats and they were headed back to the landing to get gas for one of the boats.

She adds her husband got back to the landing but her father did not.

Parnell says they found his boat and hat floating in the water, but no sign of him so they called 911.

She says her family's faith is strong and they believe he'll be found safe and OK.

"It's horrible. We just want him to come home. This waiting and not knowing is killing us. Not knowing where he's at and if he's ok. It's just very painful. We been out here everyday until dark. We stay out here all day long, " Parnell said.

She adds her father is an experienced boater who is very familiar with the river.

"He knows this river like the back of his hand. He's been coming here ever since he was young."

The family is asking for volunteers to help search in and around the river for their loved one.