Searchers on the Mississippi River are looking for a person swept away by the current Monday afternoon. Louisa County Sheriff Curt Braby says a group of people had taken a boat out into the big river. They’d gotten out to swim at a sandbar that’s next to the river’s channel. The sheriff says apparently the victim couldn’t swim and somehow slid or fell off the sandbar and into the deeper water. The missing person hasn’t been identified and the sheriff will say only that all the people in the party live around that area, some from Iowa and some from the Illinois side of the river. Agencies from both states responded, bringing gear they keep ready for such an emergency. Each of the area fire departments has boats they use for this kind of operation, he explains. Muscatine County’s sheriff and Search-and-Rescue agencies brought boats and divers, and specially-trained search dogs came from Muscatine and Clinton counties. It happened near the mouth of the Iowa River, where it joins the Mississippi, and Sheriff Braby admits it’ll be tough finding someone swept downstream by the current. “We’ve done it before,” he says, “and they do it all up and down the river. Sometimes the recovery is made quite far downstream, but it’s generally made.” The companions of the person lost in the river found a boater nearby who’s an off-duty deputy and the call went in to the local sheriff’s office just after 4 P.M. Monday. The sheriff says while they always try to hope, the operation’s being conducted as a retrieval, not a rescue.
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