Divers Search Oklahoma Lake for Missing Student Runner

Divers searched a rain-swollen lake Thursday for a high school cross-country runner who was swept away while trying to cross a flooded running path during practice.

A dozen divers were involved in what fire department District Chief Chris Fields called a recovery effort.

The missing boy, Phillip Jones, 17, was one of several runners from Putnam City West High School who tried to wade or swim across waist-deep water flooding the trail around Lake Overholser on Wednesday afternoon.

The initial call reported three teens were in the water, but two made it out safely, Fields said. Searchers didn't expect to find Jones alive because of the amount of time that has lapsed.

City crews had opened the gates of the lake's dam after the weekend's heavy rain, and the water was flowing rapidly. That was also hampering rescue effort "because they had to have the gates open or the lake would crest and cause flooding downstream," Fields said. "They're pinching them closed a little bit at a time so the divers can go in."

Jones' high school is about two blocks from the lake, and the lakeside trail is a regular route for the cross-country team.

"It's a real day of sorrow here," Steve Lindley, communications director for the Putnam City school district, said Thursday. "There are a lot of tears, a lot of hugs."

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