River Search Suspended Due To Conditions
UPDATED THURSDAY - DEC. 15 AT 3:30 P.M.
Search efforts to locate a man believed to have fallen into the Yellowstone River Monday night have been temporarily suspended due to worsening weather conditions.
"All efforts have been made with the resources that are currently available. The worsening weather conditions are preventing dive teams from entering the water. When conditions improve, we intend to resume the search," said Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem in a press release.
The man's identity has also been determined by authorities are withholding it at the request of his family.
Early Wednesdsay evening emergency crews from two counties were conducting a frigid river search for a man believed to have fallen in the Yellowstone River around 6 p.m. Monday night near Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus.
As of 4:36 p.m. Wednesday multiple search dogs had indicated a scent in an icy area of the river close to where it is believed the man fell in, said Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tammie Mullikin.
Divers deemed it too dangerous to enter to due weather conditions and visibility but were using underwater cameras and ice- drills. Crews planned to remain searching until dark, said Mullikin. Crews were back on scene Thursday morning but diving activities were not possible in the extreme cold conditions, said Kem.
Authorities were alerted to the situation when the man’s bicycle was found at the bridge at Itch-Kep-Pe Park on Tuesday by the park caretaker, said Kem.
The caretaker reported it to Columbus Police Chief Jacob Ward, who went to the scene and found tracks going down to the water but not leading back up, said Kem.
When people in the area where questioned, they reported hearing a possible yell or scream the night before around 6 p.m., said Kem.
Authorities are not naming the man.
Stillwater County Search and Rescue (SAR) was called out at 12:34 p.m. Tuesday. Two foot teams searched boat ramps at the park and the SAR raft was launched. Rapidly changing water and weather conditions forced the raft out of the water, said Kem. The search was suspended due to darkness Tuesday night.
Gallatin County dogs and divers as well as Columbus Fire Rescue and Columbus police are working the scene.
Tuesday’s high temperature in Columbus reached just 14 degrees and fell to -5, according to the National Weather Service. Monday night’s low was 2 degrees.