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No sign of missing woman in Snake River; police deploy drone to assist in search


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The following is a news release and photos from the Idaho Falls Police Department and Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.

IDAHO FALLS — Thursday morning at 8 a.m., the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team resumed the search for a 23-year-old female whom allegedly fell into the river Wednesday night around 11:40 p.m.

According to Sergeant Karl Casperson, who leads the dive team, ten team members were deployed.

Casperson said the team searched a 5-mile stretch of the river several times today using divers, two jet skis and three boats. Approximately 15 members of the volunteer-based Search and Rescue Team also searched the land area around the river. Idaho Falls Fire Department had EMTs on the scene to assist and Idaho Falls Power has assisted with checking water grates.

“We will be out here during the weekend until we find something,” said Sergeant Casperson.

They expect to resume the search Friday using jet skis.

Idaho Falls Police hoped to find evidence from above, as they deployed the first official test flight of the department’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilot program. The IFPD sought and received an Emergency Certificate of Authorization from the FAA to deploy the drone. The authorization allowed the IFPD to fly the drone for the purpose of the search only and for a period of two hours.

The department’s test drone is a consumer-grade drone, which is an inexpensive model with a 12 megapixel video camera.

The department is using the test drone to determine which types of incidents a drone could be useful, how much monetary savings could result from its use, and what equipment would meet the department’s needs.

No evidence of the woman has been found yet, but the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho Falls Police Department will continue to collaborate, investigate and search for the woman.