Columbus man found in Hoover Reservoir Monday morning


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com



The body of a Columbus man who disappeared in Hoover Reservoir over the weekend was found Monday after an extensive search.

An apparent drowning victim is Thomas Mixter, 54, of Columbus, according to Genoa Township police.

Genoa Township Deputy Fire Chief Joe Ponzi said Monday that his body was located on the east side of the reservoir at about 11:25 a.m. Monday, just hours after authorities resumed their search Monday.

Ponzi said Mixter and a friend were sailing in the reservoir Saturday afternoon when they put down the sail and used a motor to go back to their dock. However, a mechanical problem with the engine left them stranded and drifting across the reservoir.

Ponzi said the small sailboat ran aground in the shallows and Mixter got out of the boat to free it from the sand bar. Ponzi said he got out of the boat multiple times but, after freeing the boat, he was unable to climb back in, clinging to the side of the boat.

“At this point, it’s dark,” Ponzi said. “He loses his grip on the side of the boat and his friend loses sight of him.”

Ponzi said Mixter and the friend maintained voice contact for a short time before Mixter stopped responding and the friend called 911. Mixter and the friend were not wearing life vests.

Ponzi said investigators believe Mixter lost the use of his limbs in the cold water and could no longer swim.

Emergency units were dispatched at 8:53 p.m., according to Ponzi, and several rescue agencies searched into the night but were unable to find him before it was too dark to safely continue the search.

Authorities searched again Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at which point they could no longer use divers and called off the search for the night.

Mixter’s body was found Monday by members of the Columbus Police Department dive team.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Berlin Township, Westerville and Tri-Township fire departments, and Delaware County EMS assisted in the search.

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.