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Search suspended for woman missing in Stillwater River

Stillwater County Search and Rescue
Posted at 9:01 AM, Jun 06, 2022

UPDATE: 9:35 a.m. - June 7, 2022

STILLWATER COUNTY - MTN News spoke with one man who camped next to the family of the missing 44-year-old woman at Itch-Kep-Pe Park in Columbus.

Duane Werner saw the family right before they went rafting on the Stillwater River on Sunday.

“They were getting ready to take off on the raft, them and the little ones,” said Werner on Monday.

Werner and his father went to check out another campsite at Fireman's Point around 2 p.m. when they encountered the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office.

“That’s when the sheriffs showed up and said 'hey, the raft just went over with a little baby and a lady on it.' I thought whoa,” said Werner.

The pair joined the sheriff's office in their search for the missing woman.

"Dad went with one sheriff and I went the other guy down to the headgates to see if we could see them there,” Werner said.

Werner spoke with the family Sunday night after the woman went missing.

"I walked over to their camp, started looking, talking to him, visiting with him. He was pretty upset,” said Werner.

(second report: 1:45 p.m. - June 6, 2022)

The search for the missing woman was suspended Monday afternoon due to unsafe weather and river conditions, the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office said in a press release.

"At this time a 44-year-old female is still missing and believed to be in the Yellowstone River," the press release states. "The area has been searched by jet boat, drone, Helicopter, and members of emergency services. The search has been suspended at this time due to weather conditions and river conditions that are unsafe, but further search efforts will be conducted as weather permits. The Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone that comes upon anything in the area that could be tied to this incident to please contact Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 406-322-5326."

(first report: 9:01 a.m. - June 6, 2022)

BILLINGS - The Stillwater County Sheriff's Office says four people - three adults and one child - were aboard a raft that overturned and wrapped around a bridge pier on the Stillwater River on Sunday.

It happened at an area known as the Beartooth Drop, a wide ledge spanning nearly the expanse of the Stillwater River below the Swinging Bridge Fishing Access Site, upstream of the confluence of the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers.

A woman in her 40s is still missing in the river, though search and rescue operations were suspended at nightfall and will resume on Monday.

Undersheriff Randy Smith says the call of the overturned raft came in at 1:11 p.m. on Sunday and rescuers were able to pull two adults and a child to safety from the raft. None of them were injured.

Smith says the woman currently missing in the river was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) at the time of the incident.

Smith says all four of the people were from the area; their identities are not being released.

Several agencies are assisting in the search and boaters and recreators are asked to stay off those sections of the rivers.