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UPDATE: River Search for Missing Boy Employs Buoy Tracking, Sonar

A Casper firefighter on Tuesday monitors a buoy to track currents in the North Platte River near where an 11-year-old boy was last seen Monday.
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Emergency crews on Tuesday continued their recovery efforts for an 11-year-old boy who went missing in the North Platte River on Monday, Casper Fire-EMS spokesmen said.

“We’re pretty much in body recovery now,” David Lundahl said late Monday afternoon.

Personnel from seven agencies began searching about 2 p.m. after receiving the call  about an11-year-old boy and his 8-year-old friend who slipped into the current near the Tate Pumphouse, Lundahl said.

“They got in where they could not touch,” Lundahl said.

“The 11-year-old is a swimmer; the 8-year-old is not,” he said. “The 11-year-old was trying to save his (friend), push him toward shore. They actually got pulled in one of the current eddies up stream, 10 to 20 yards.”

The 8-year-old was swept downstream and picked up by by two boaters in a raft about 100 yards downstream, Lundahl said.

Tuesday, Casper Fire-EMS Division Chief Mark Harshman said that boy was taken to the Wyoming Medical Center for observation, and was released.

Contrary to initial reports, the boys were not brothers, but very close friends.

Only Casper Fire-EMS and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, of the original seven agencies, were actively involved in the search on Tuesday, Harshman said. The agencies moved to a recovery mode from the riskier rescue mode with swimmers in the water during the first two hours of the operation on Monday.

“Now we know we’re looking for somebody who is deceased and we take a lot less risk to our own personnel,” he said. “We would not want to have one of our own rescue swimmers get into trouble and have a double tragedy.”

The Sheriff’s Office also would be returning its air rescue boat to the river to employ its side-scan sonar system to look at the river banks again, Harshman added.

Casper Fire-EMS was performing buoyancy checks, using slightly-heavier than water buoys to track currents from where the 11-year-old boy, identified as Alex Cressy of Mills, was last seen near the Tate Pumphouse, he said.

Alex’s mother was on the scene at the Pumphouse, but declined to comment.

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