The sad, hard week of Alex Cressy’s family came to a sad, hard end Thursday evening when emergency crews retrieved his 11-year-old body from the North Platte River not far from when he was last seen Monday.

Family members wanted to be left alone in their grief, an angry woman said, as they gathered about 150 yards east of the footbridge by the Tate Pumphouse, which was blocked by emergency vehicles.

The Casper community shared in that grief over the past three days for Alex, who slipped into the current soon after saving his friend by pushing him toward shore to be picked up by boaters downstream.

Earlier Thursday, Casper Fire-EMS spokesman Jason Parks said crews made four trips by raft from the Pumphouse to Bryan Stock Trail.

“The last two days, we’ve been doing some camera work here by the Pumphouse,” Parks said. “We were unable to do that today, so our only attempt was to send some boats out.”

Although people believed the body was probably in the area, Fire-EMS crews didn’t want to miss anything, he said.

Some bystanders and law enforcement officials saw the body surface, Parks said. After about a half-hour of work Fire-EMS crews retrieved him about 5:45 p.m. after a half-hour of work from an area where eddies swirled, he said.

The identification, manner and cause of death was to be determined by the Natrona County coroner, Parks added.

Monday, authorities received a call about 2 p.m. for Alex and his 8-year-old friend who went missing in the river, Casper Fire-EMS spokesman David Lundahl said late Monday afternoon.

“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.”

Personnel from seven agencies began searching in the river and on the banks, while the Wyoming Medical Center's Life Flight scanned the river from above, Casper Fire-EMS spokesman

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

By late Monday, the search-and-rescue operation had turned into a recovery operation, he said.

While the focus of the work changed, the intensity did not.
The Sheriff’s Office continued using its air rescue boat to employ its side-scan sonar system to look at the river banks again. Casper Fire-EMS performed buoyancy checks by using slightly-heavier than water buoys to track currents. And a company with a small sub with cameras inspecting the river near Glenrock donated the equipment for part of the search.