Crews search for missing teen in Missouri River

Monday, July 9, 2012 | 4:54 p.m. CDT; updated 11:28 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 9, 2012

An updated version of this article has been posted.

COLUMBIA – Rescue crews were searching for an 18-year-old man who slipped into the Missouri River near Perche Creek on Monday afternoon.

The teenager was reportedly fishing near the water with an uncle and a cousin when he stepped off an embankment and into water that was over his head, said Boone County Fire Protection District spokesman Gale Blomenkamp.

The young man, who reportedly is unable to swim, entered the water near the confluence of Perche Creek and the Missouri River about a mile upstream from Cooper's Landing.

Witnesses said they saw his head bob up and down in the water a few times before he disappeared, said Sgt. Jerry Callahan of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. His family members tried to reach for him before he slipped away.

Two boats from the Fire District and one from the Highway Patrol were searching the water for the missing teen. The boats are equipped with sonar and pike poles, said Capt. Chris Swisher of the Fire District.

The depth of the river is anywhere from about 18 to 42 feet. The boats had medics on board. Two medics also were on shore.

More personnel and additional equipment from the Highway Patrol's Marine Operations Division were on the way to help with the search. Officials were unsure how late into the night the search would continue.

The water flows south toward Cooper's Landing from the creek, so crews were concentrating their efforts downstream of the creek.

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