What started out as a relaxing 4th of July on the water, ends in the possible drowning of a fisherman in Oregon.
"We understand we've gone past that point where we can recover a live person. So at this point we'll just keep working until the body is recovered." -says Oregon Police Chief Darin Dehaan.
Friends and family wait nearby while rescue teams search the Rock River. A member of their group, now identified as 37-year-old Reyes Perez from Chicago, went missing early Wednesday morning. Police say what Perez was wearing might have worked against him.
"He had calf-high waders on, and it sounds like they filled with water and pulled him under." -says Chief Dehaan.
Perez was fishing on a small rock island, just south of the Oregon Dam, when he took a few steps too far into the water. The strong river current swept him downstream and dragged him under. Witnesses say Perez surfaced once, but was pulled back under, and hasn't been seen since. The Oregon Fire Department responded just before 9 a.m., the dive team arrived shortly after. Area units came from Byron, Dixon, Rockford, and Rochelle to help out. Before the Rockford Fire Department could arrive with a sonar unit, dive teams had to use alternative methods.
"The visibility is really low, so basically what they're doing is searching by feel at this point." -says Chief Dehaan.
He says these strong currents can be unpredictable, and unexpected.
"Understand that there are dangerous conditions in any waterway. Know your limits, and be aware that what you see on the surface is not always what's underneath."
At 12:45 Wednesday afternoon, the search was called off. The Oregon Fire Dept. will start up again Thursday morning.
If you have any information that could be helpful, contact the Oregon Police Department at (815) 732-2162.
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