By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – Searchers recovered the body about midnight Tuesday of a man reported missing Monday while swimming at Eastport.
Robert E. “Robby” Hale, 46, of New Albany died in a freshwater drowning, said Tishomingo County Coroner Mack Wilemon.
Hale was a longtime agent with Farm Bureau Insurance in New Albany, where his manager, Hilton Richey, described him as a “stellar” agent, according to newspaper reports.
Hale had been on a boating outing with family members in Tennessee River waters between Eastport Marina and J.P. Coleman State Park when a sudden storm caused extremely strong winds and waves, said Sheriff Glenn Whitlock.
Hale had been wearing a life jacket, but jumped in the water and gave it up to save someone else, the sheriff said.
When his boat was pushed out of reach by the storm and current, Hale was unable to make it back.
A search was launched Monday afternoon by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and included family members, Alabama authorities and divers from Tishomingo County, Colbert County, Ala., and Alcorn County.
Hale, a member of Ingomar Baptist Church, also coached golf at Ingomar High School.
Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. today at Ingomar Baptist Church, with services at 11 a.m. Friday, also at Ingomar Baptist Church.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.