Hornersville woman drowns near Manila

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Rescue workers responded to a possible drowning call Sunday at 3:52 p.m. at the Floodway Diversion that runs along side Mallard Lake near Manila.

According to Captain Ed Guthrie of the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, the Blytheville Rescue Squad, Manila Fire Department, Manila Police Department and Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, and the Arkansas Game and Fish responded to the call. Also responding was the Air Evac team from Jonesboro who happened to be in the area at the time and assisted with fly-over searching.

Searchers retrieved the body of Kelley Pate, 32, of Hornersville, at approximately 5:05 p.m. in five feet of water in the general area where she reportedly went into the water.

Pate, along with Benjamin Carl McElhaney, 27, and Ronald Thompson, 38, were reportedly out riding around the lake in a fishing boat when they experienced motor trouble. McElhaney told police that while he was trying to fix the motor, Pate and Thompson jumped in for a swim.

Later when Thompson got back into the boat, they looked around for Pate and when they couldn't find her, they called for help.

The coroner at the scene ruled Pate's cause of death to be drowning and the body was taken to the morgue at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Blytheville.

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