Family remembers Brandon, 34-year-old boater still missing

Action News spoke to the family Monday of the man who went missing after a boating accident Sunday night.

UPDATE at 9:46 p.m.: Officials confirmed they have called off the search for the missing man who fell off a boat into the Columbia River Sunday night.

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue says at this point it's up to help them find the 34-year-old man.


TRI-CITIES, Wash. – Action News spoke to the family Monday of the man who went missing after a boating accident Sunday night.

"It's the roughest thing you'll ever do in your life," said Gerry Martin.

Gerry Martin sat on the river banks with the rest of his family on Monday waiting for crews to find his son, Brandon, who's been missing for over 20 hours.

“It's gut-wrenching, horrible," said Martin.

Martin said this isn’t the first time they’ve lost a son, which makes it even harder.

Officials said Sunday night, a boat accident on the Columbia River caused three people to fall out of the boat. Gerry said his 34-year-old son was in the boat with his two cousins.

Authorities found the two cousins, but didn't find Brandon.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol, Dive Rescue and the Pasco fire boat searched the area after the accident, but were unsuccessful.

Dive rescue went back out Monday to continue to search the area where witnesses last saw Brandon.

"We are just using sonar right now to scan the bottom of the river and the bottom of the river our witnesses believe he fell in and we're looking for any objects and shadowing that might appear to be a body," said Troy McGregor with Columbia Basin Dive and Rescue.

They will mark those spots and then dive Monday night.

Authorities couldn't say what caused the accident, but say alcohol could be a factor.

They added to always have someone who is sober operating the boat.

"Chances are they weren't wearing a life jacket. Typically, if you wear a life jacket, you're not going to go under the water for very long, You're going to pop right back up," said Deputy Jacob Safford with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol.

Officials said if you're an adult or child, you always should put on a lifejacket.

“A life jacket would have definitely saved a life here," said McGregor.

While sheriffs can't confirm anything yet, they say the worst possible outcome is likely.

"Most likely it’s going to be a recovery now- not finding the person alive. [It’s] just for the fact is he's been missing for so long- just seemed to go under and not come back up," added Safford.

But while the family waited, they remembered the person Brandon was.

“The best thing about Brandon is his love of life- the way he cared for his family and all of us. He will be sorely missed," ended Martin.

The family said they are relying on their faith to help them through this tough time.

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue said if they don’t recover a body Monday night, they will stop their search.

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