Continuing Coverage: Search for Missing Boater, DNR says getting closer to answers

43-year-old, Steven Burks of Owensboro, has been missing since the September 9th boat accident

Search for missing boater continues; DNR says getting closer to answers

NEWBURGH, IN (WFIE) - The search for missing 43-year-old, Steven Burks from Owensboro continues. As of Tuesday he has been missing for 9 days.

“We just need more eyes out there. Especially the next couple of days,” Lt. Duane Englert, Indiana Conservation Officer said.

Matt Clark, Indiana Conservation Officer, searches the river for any signs of Steven Burks or his ski boat.
Matt Clark, Indiana Conservation Officer, searches the river for any signs of Steven Burks or his ski boat.

As river conditions finally start to return to normal, Burks' family gets closer to long awaited answers.

On Tuesday, DNR officers and search crews were able to use sonar equipment for the first time since September 10th due to the extremely unfavorable water conditions the past week.

Water levels, temperature, and currents are finally returning to normal. DNR officials said that Burks should surface any day now.

Tuesday crews used sonar in shallow areas especially near the Newburgh beach area where previous sonar had indicated a large object that had potential of being Burks' missing ski boat.

Lt. Englert said that the river currents and water depth is too dangerous for diving search efforts.

DNR is not ruling out the possibility that Burks could be trapped underwater with his boat.

Officers said that finding closure for the family is what keeps them going - searching every day from dawn to dusk tirelessly.

“Everyday we drive by and we see the family sitting there. And you know you have to put yourself in their shoes. If this was one of your family members what would you do? So that’s what we gotta keep in mind 'cuz the public and the community is our family, so we have to treat them as such,” Matt Clark, Indiana Conservation Officer said.

Family members and friends of Steven Burks talk with Conservation Officer, Lt. Duane Englert and wait for answers along the river's edge.
Family members and friends of Steven Burks talk with Conservation Officer, Lt. Duane Englert and wait for answers along the river's edge.

Clark said crews are planning their search strategy on a day-by-day basis but will continue to have officers on the water as much as they can and use sonar when it makes sense.

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