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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ Aquatic plants grown into South Chickamauga Creek on July 19, 2019.

The discovery of an abandoned boat on South Chickamauga Creek prompted a search for a possible body last week.

Catoosa County spokesperson John Pless said dispatchers received a call Thursday afternoon from a citizen who reported seeing an older gentleman in a plaid shirt fishing in a boat on the shoreline near the dam by Graysville Road.

The caller said the boat was still there later in the day, but the person inside it was missing. The caller said the person may have fallen into the water, and so a search began right away, Pless said.

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Firefighters from several stations went out in boats and kayaks to search. Hamilton County Marine Rescue brought out sonar equipment to search the bottom of the creek. Catoosa County Sheriff's deputies went door-to-door in the area to ask if anyone was missing any family members. No one was, and no one had been reported missing as of Monday afternoon.

"We found the boat, but it is dilapidated and cracked, and to be honest, it doesn't seem water-ready. It didn't look like it had been used any time recently. After two days of extensive searching, the search was called off," Pless said. "We really think this is a case of someone going out there to enjoy the creek and maybe going over to look at the boat, then leaving. We don't, at this time, believe anyone is missing."

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The owner of the boat has not been identified. It was found unoccupied with no towing vehicles nearby. Anyone with information about who the boat may belong to should contact the Catoosa County Fire Department at (706) 861-4194.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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