Authorities identify man reported missing at Belews Lake

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. – Authorities have identified a man reported missing after getting into the water at Belews Lake as 57-year-old James Russell Bateman of Eden.

57-year-old James Russell Bateman of Eden

57-year-old James Russell Bateman of Eden

Emergency responders are searching for Bateman who reportedly went missing in Belews Lake after jumping in Friday afternoon.

The incident was reported shortly before 2 p.m. as Bateman and a woman were out on the lake in a boat. Bateman lost his hat, jumped out of the boat to get it and disappeared. The woman called 911.

Rescue crews used sonar boats and searched the waters until about 8 p.m.

Bateman, in his 50s, could swim but was probably not wearing a life jacket, according to authorities.

The search involved more than 50 volunteers from various counties, eight boats, the Coast Guard, dogs, a dive team and state and county agencies.

The water is said to be about 116 feet deep.

Main access to the area could possibly be blocked off for days.

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