Authorities searching for 20-year-old Columbus man who fell into the Yellowstone River

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Monday, June 18, 2018

A three-day search for a young Columbus man who was seen falling into the Yellowstone River Friday has been halted due to difficult weather conditions.

Brandon Fitch, 20, was reportedly seen going into the Yellowstone River just north of Reed Point at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday, June 16, according to Stillwater County Dispatch reports. A 911 caller reported that Fitch was staying at the caller's home in Reed Point and that a friend saw Fitch fall of a bridge. The reporting party began walking the river banks in search of Fitch until emergency crews arrived on scene. 

Deputies, Stillwater County Search and Rescue, Sweet Grass County Search and Rescue and Columbus Fire Rescue all responded to conduct a river and a bank search. 

“The area has been searched by jet boat, jet skis, drone, and members of emergency services on the banks of the river,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Smith in a press release.  

Heavy rain and a muddy, fast-moving river were among factors prompting authorities to temporarily suspend search efforts, Smith told the News Monday afternoon.

Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem said that as soon as the weather permits, a flyover will be conducted. Stillwater County Search and Rescue plans to bring in dog teams to assist as soon as possible. 

Kem also said that foul play is not suspected.

Smith asks anyone that comes upon anything in the area that could be tied to this incident to please contact dispatch at 322-5326.

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