Flathead County Coverage

Jan 26, 2013 7:15 PM by Laura Wilson - KAJ News

Missing man found dead in Flathead River

HUNGRY HORSE - The body of a 23-year-old man was recovered from the Flathead River Saturday afternoon by search and rescue crews.

The out-of-state man was reported missing Friday afternoon by relatives he was visiting in Hungry Horse.

Authorities discovered footprints in the snow, beginning at the relatives' house and ending at the river's edge during their investigation.

Nearly 30 search and rescue volunteers gathered again at the Hungry Horse Fire Hall early Saturday morning, to resume their search.

Crews were dispatched in and along the Flathead River in the area, and shortly before noon, his body was discovered.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said the body was spotted from a helicopter.

"We were in the main stem of the Flathead River. He was several miles downstream from the point where he first entered the water."

Going into Saturday's search, the Flathead County Sheriff's Department still didn't know whether the man had actually entered the river.

"When we don't know for sure that somebody is in the water or someone doesn't see them go in, we deploy more resources," Curry said.

"We check to make sure that they didn't get out of the water, if they went in, and that they're not just wandering the bank. We had a lot of people out here today, a lot of very dedicated volunteers. We're very appreciative of all of their efforts," he added.

The circumstances in which the man entered the river are still unknown, but Curry said the man had some mental illness issues that might have contributed.

"It's a very sad situation, but we're happy we were able to rapidly bring it to a close for the family's sake."

The man's name is not being released at this time.

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