Idaho Falls

Man found alive after falling into Snake River, prompting search

Alcohol is believed to be a factor

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE 9:01 a.m.: The Bonneville County Sheriff's Office says a 47-year-old man has been found alive after falling into the Snake River at South Tourist Park Saturday evening.

"He was apparently able to get out of the water on his own downstream from where he went in despite a lack of some physical abilities," a sheriff's office press release said.

The release said the man left the area with other friends and failed to notify anyone he was okay until this morning. The man is believed to have been intoxicated when he fell into the river.

"Again, we remind everyone that the Snake River is very dangerous at this time and we urge extreme caution.  Incidents such as this where alcohol and heavy drinking result in poor judgment put good Samaritans, rescue personnel, and others at risk," the release reads."

The man's name has not been released. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Members of the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, Idaho Falls Fire and Bonneville County Search and Rescue Dive Team spent Saturday night searching the banks of the Snake River near South Tourist Park for any sign of a man seen falling into the river.

Crews were called to the river just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Friends of the man told deputies they watched him fall into the river, according to witnesses. Rescuers focused their search on the banks of the river between South Tourist Park and the Sunnyside Road bridge near the power plant. Air Idaho was also brought in to help search the river.

"We have covered the river the best we can with our current resources," Sgt. J. Martin with the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office said. "We have searched from here [South Tourist Park] down to the bridge. The further you get past that, the harder it gets to coordinate."

Witnesses told deputies the man fell into the water near the buoy line at South Tourist Park. He was last seen floating downstream without a life jacket. The Snake River through Idaho Falls is currently running at just over 13 feet, according to the USGS gauge. Rescuers say the water is moving fast and is full of debris.

"The water is too dangerous to put anyone one," Martin said. "We are not putting anybody on the water. Recovery efforts, search efforts will begin in the morning."

Because of the river current and dangers on the water, crews suspended the search for the man early Sunday morning. Crews are expected to resume the search sometime later in the day.

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