New organization hopes to help family of loves ones missing in water


By : Nicole Ford-WSPA News Channel 7

An Upstate family is paying tribute to a lost loved one. Mitchell Gibson’s family spent more than seven months and $20,000 to recover his body after he went missing at Lake Russell last fall.

The problem is many agencies don’t have the resources needed to sustain extensive search and rescue efforts in the water. So Gibson’s family is now trying to bridge the gap between what state agencies can provide and what the family of a lost loved one needs.

Across the country, hundreds of people go missing in the water each year, but not all are found quickly. Right now a 21 year old kayaker is still missing in Michigan almost a year later and here at Lake Hartwell Kip Burrell is still missing after a boating accident in July.

What happens now is the question for many? When time passes and state agencies have pulled back resources, what do you do? That’s where Mitchell Gibson’s family comes in. His sister Kelly Johnson said they spent the time finding other options whether its charities or personal divers for families to locate their loved ones. So now they’ve started Mitchell’s Light to provide these resources and help bring other families the closure they got when they found Mitchell.

“Are you trained to use sonar equipment to find a body? Is that what you are trained for? Are you trained to have the right resource at the right time for the right situation? If not, I think that’s where we can help,” Johnson said.

The organization’s first goal is to raise funds to buy special sonar equipment so they can help on the water. Then offer educational training for first responders on this type of equipment, and the first educational class will happen in October. If you want to learn more about Mitchell’s Light or donate to their cause click here.