August 15, 2014 11:40:15 AM
A man found dead in a pond Thursday at a Hamilton chemical plant has been identified.
The body of George Rice, 54, of Fairview Road in Brooksville, was discovered at approximately 8:57 a.m., submerged in a pond near Tronox, according to Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley.
Rice was operating a tethered 18-foot pontoon dredge when it listed and capsized, according to a statement issued by the company. He was wearing a life jacket. Employed by Jimco, Rice was a longtime contract employee, according to Bud Grebey, vice president of communications with Tronox.
Gurley said the incident happened around 6:45 a.m. Thursday. Columbus Fire and Rescue dive team received a call for help just after 7:30 a.m., according to the department's public relations officer Anthony Colom.
The dive team recovered Rice's body in less than five minutes, Colom said. The body was located in the middle of the pond, next to the overturned dredging machine, Gurley said.
Gurley stopped short of declaring the death a drowning, pending an autopsy, which is expected to be performed today in Jackson.
The incident remains under investigation.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. Columbus mayoral race gets ugly COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. New SOCSD superintendent pledges to create '21st century school district' in Oktibbeha STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
3. Man gets life in prison for capital murder of Lowndes teen COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY