Eye witnesses help focus search for Starling

Published 2:51 pm Sunday, July 14, 2019

The team searching for 26-year-old Troy native Kelsey Starling now has a new search area thanks to eye witnesses who saw the boat she was in crash, according to Kelsey’s father Alton Starling.

Alton posted Sunday morning that authorities were able to find an eye witness whose “GPS coordinates we were able to refine the location of the incident.”

“While it is in line where they are currently searching, its a little further out than expected, and in deeper water,” Starling said. “The depth requires a different mixture for the divers to breathe and the divers have to decompress when resurfacing. Water temperature is cold at that depth. The trees are thicker and there is more underbrush hampering the search. These are all dangerous conditions to the divers.”

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Because of this added risk, Alton said the search will be conducted solely by Remotely Operated Vehicles until Starling is found, at which point the human divers will be involved.

Starling was a passenger in a 2012 Mastercraft wakeboard boat involved in a two-vessel crash at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday night. William Jackson Fite, 23, of Decatur, was booked into the Winston County jail Friday on a charge of Boating Under the Influence. Four other passengers on the Mastercraft were also injured and taken for medical treatment.

The Winston County Emergence Management Agency (EMA) has asked to send any donations to Smith Lake Task Force, 595 County Road 3135, Houston, AL. 35572.