Bighorn Lake closed as search for missing boaters continues

Posted at 11:22 AM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 13:22:45-04

(BILLINGS) Authorities have closed a portion of Bighorn Lake as they continue to search for two men missing after a boating accident over the weekend.

Christy Fleming, spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said the area between Dayboard 6 and 8 will be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, and future closures are possible. A Dayboard is a marker used to help boaters determine their position in the lake.

On Tuesday, divers were on the scene with remote-operated vehicles that can dive deeper than human divers. Two search dogs, Gunny and Taylor, with Great Basin K9 Search and Rescue, are also assisting in the search. Both are trained in land and water recovery, according to Fleming.

The lake depth is estimated at 380 feet in the search area. 

Authorities are still piecing together how the accident happened and how many boats were involved. An off-duty Sheriff’s deputy reported a sunken vessel Saturday night in the Dayboard 7 area and alerted authorities.

A Billings woman, Tammy Scoville, was found dead.

Another man, Robert Ludwich, was found alive at the shore and taken to a Billings hospital.

(AUGUST 12, 2018) The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from an off-duty deputy on Saturday night about a boating accident near Dayboard 7 with a sunken boat and two people in the water.

National Park Service and Big Horn Country Sheriff’s deputies responded.

They found Robert Ludwich of Billings on the shoreline; he was taken by boat to Ok-A-Beh and airlifted by Help Flight helicopter to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.

Rangers stayed on the scene through the night, and the search resumed on Sunday morning.

The body of Tammy Scoville of Billings was recovered from the water.

Search and rescue operations continued through the day in search of two missing men.

The search will continue on Monday with additional Park Service and US Coast Guard resources.

Ok-A-Beh Marina and Bighorn Lake remain open, but boaters are asked to use extreme caution and asked to keep wakes to a minimum in the area of the lake between Dayboards 5 and 9, where operations are concentrated.

The majority of the search activities will be centered around Dayboard 7.

There is no word yet on how the incident happened.

We will update you as we get more details.

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