‘Tragic day’ for families



MONCKS CORNER — It will be a sad Memorial Day for the families of two Goose Creek men missing in the Cooper River.

A search that started Saturday night was expected to resume this morning for Robert Andrews, 57, and Robbie Mullinax, 27.

Andrews jumped off a moving boat near the Pimlico community about 6 p.m. Saturday and never resurfaced.

Rescue crews were looking for him in the river when two other boats collided nearby about 8 p.m. Two of the four occupants of the boat that was broadsided were taken to hospitals with serious injuries. One man made it back to shore safely. Mullinax was still missing Sunday night.

The boats that collided were sleek, fast vessels known as cigar boats, according to Berkeley County Rescue Squad Chief Bill Salisbury. The boat in which Mullinax was riding was turning when another boat hit it broadside, according to family members. A report from the state Department of Natural Resources was not available Sunday.

About 50 or 60 members of both families kept watch along the shore all day Sunday. Rescue workers set up base at the private dock at Pimlico Plantation, where the boat in which Andrews was riding launched Saturday.

“It’s been such a shock,” said Martha Dupree, Mullinax’s grandmother. “He had so many friends.”

Mullinax was born and raised in Moncks Corner and graduated from Berkeley High School in 2004. He worked for Berkeley Electric Cooperative. He loved to fish for bass and was well-known in tournaments, family members said.

“He was absolutely the most gentle, mischievous and charming young man you’ll ever find in your life,” his aunt, Connie Davis, said.

Andrews, the other missing man, had worked for 30 years for Blue and Gold Auto Salvage and was well-known in the community, according to his family and friends.

“Everybody knew him, and everybody loved him,” said James Tesenair, a friend keeping watch with the family Saturday.

His sister, Debbie Ingram Wilson, couldn’t talk about him without crying and looked over at the others waiting along the shore.

“My heart goes out to the other family,” she said. “It’s a tragic day for both families.”

The search will be based at the Dennis boat landing in Moncks Corner today, Salisbury said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.