CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — After more than a month-long search and recovery effort, the body of a missing 26-year-old boater has been found.
Around 10 p.m., Saturday evening, officials were able to find and recover the body of Dustin New, according to the Cullman County Coroner’s Office. The Fultondale man’s boat capsized on July 16, 2020, and search efforts have fallen short until Saturday evening.
New was recovered from about 90 feet of water, the ALEA Marine Patrol reports. He was also recovered in the area where the accident initially occurred.
SE Louisiana Underwater Recovery, Logan Volunteer Fire Department, Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and ALEA Marine Patrol assisted in Saturday’s recovery.
New’s close friends say the news of his body being located gives them the chance to heal, knowing where he is. “We kind of just feel like now we can look back on some of the fun times we had,” said Curtis McMickin. “Remembering who he was and not constantly thinking about where he’s at.”
Funeral arrangements have been made for New. The service will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 at Copeland Cemetery in Hayden, Ala at 2 p.m.
McMickin met New when the two worked together at Tin Roof. He remembers his friend as someone that never met a stranger and always left others smiling. “He was just a great person to be around. The way that he can just uplift anyone’s spirit, the way he could just make you smile without even saying anything. It was just infectious.”
McMickin said he was planning to ask New to be the best man in his wedding. Although New will not physically be at the wedding, McMickin said he plans to save him a spot. “You can’t replace your best friend. He still will be my best man.”
Logan Fire and Rescue is a volunteer department. They have helped in the search for Dustin New almost every day since the six weeks he went missing. McMickin has helped fund raise for the volunteer department and says he plans to continue to do so for future rescue efforts.
New was an employee at Tin Roof where the bar hosted a series of fundraisers for New’s family in efforts to recover his body from Smith Lake. If you would like to donate to the family, click here.
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