Crews begin underwater search of Henrys Fork near St. Anthony for missing BYU-I student
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ST. ANTHONY – Search and rescue crews are preparing for an underwater dive as day four of the search for a missing Brigham Young University-Idaho student resumes along the Henrys Fork of the Snake River in St. Anthony.
Matthew Rios, 22, of Peru got caught in the current and floated downstream after jumping off the Fun Farm Bridge with two of his friends Thursday afternoon. Rios’ friends made it safely to shore. A third friend was also there who did not get in the water, according to a mom who declined to give her name.
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries tells EastIdahoNews.com crews with the sheriff’s office, St. Anthony Police Department, South Fremont Fire District and other volunteers have been searching the river in boats and along the river bank Monday.
“We’ve had drones up in the air (as well),” says Humphries. “Right at the moment we’ve got some nasty weather — a hard wind out of the north, so it’s making it a little difficult to fly the drones.”
Weather conditions have been an ongoing challenge in the search. On Saturday, Humphries said the water had dropped 10 degrees from the previous day, making it risky for dive teams.
A SONAR search was conducted that afternoon and Sunday. Authorities have been working with irrigation and canal companies over the weekend to modify the flow of the river so search and rescue can start diving.
A dive search was in the process of getting underway at 5 p.m. as water levels continued to drop.
“The Ashton dam and Chester dam have put restrictions in the river to slow it down. They did a flush earlier today. They let out water so they’d be able to hold a little more. We’ve had great cooperation with the water folks and they’ve been very helpful,” Humphries says.
Several hours into Thursday’s search, Humphries told us it’s possible Rios may have gotten caught in an irrigation diversion dam several hundred yards down the river. Authorities believe he may have drowned and it may take a while to find his body.
The Fun Farm Bridge is a popular place for swimming and bridge jumping, but Humphries reiterated Monday the temperature and depth of the river is extremely dangerous at this time of year. He’s urging you to avoid these types of activities in this section of the river.
EastIdahoNews.com will continue to follow the search efforts and provide additional details as they become available.