UPDATE: Search continues Sunday for missing UWEC student - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Search continues Sunday for missing UW-Eau Claire student

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The search continued on the Chippewa River Sunday for a missing student from UW-Eau Claire.

A pair of boats spent two hours on the river this morning looking for any sign of David Patrick Rodgers, a 20 year old from Northfield, Minnesota. Police say Rodgers fell off the UW-Eau Claire footbridge late Friday night. Sunday morning, crews checked both sides of the river, starting near the footbridge and traveling west until the point where I-94 crosses the river.

So far, the search has been unsuccessful.

The fire department will have crews out on the water for a fourth day on Monday. 

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PRESS RELEASE FROM UW-EAU CLAIRE POLICE - At approximately 10:45 pm on April 19, 2013, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Police Department responded to an emergency call regarding a male individual who fell into the Chippewa River from the university footbridge.

As part of the investigation, police discovered a student was missing from his on-campus residence hall. Witnesses on the footbridge who saw the male subject provided information that match the description of the missing student.  Attempts to locate the missing student have thus far been unsuccessful. The missing student is David Patrick Rodgers from Northfield, Minnesota. Rodgers, 20, is described as Caucasian, 5'10", 168 pounds, with brown eyes and was last seen wearing khaki pants and a white t-shirt that reads "No Obama" on the front. Rodgers' family has been contacted and has asked that members of the media refrain from contacting them for statements.

Anyone with additional information regarding Rodgers' whereabouts or the identify of the individual who fell from the footbridge is urged to call UW-Eau Claire Police Department at (715) 836-2222. All questions regarding the investigation should also be referred to the UW-Eau Claire Police Department.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Rescue crews continued to search today for a man they believe fell off the UW-Eau Claire footbridge late Friday night. Members of the Eau Claire Fire Department, Police Department, and UW-Eau Claire police used boats and walked the shores of the Chippewa River Saturday.

"We immediately sent out three engines, two boats, and a rescue medic unit, and we went down to the area of about 5th and Water and started searching the river area," said Eau Claire Fire Department Battalion Chief Bryon Bensen.

A cold Friday night turned into a heated search for a man the Eau Claire fire department says was seen falling from the railing of the UW-Eau Claire footbridge. Campus police believe the missing man is David Patrick Rodgers, a 20 year-old UW-Eau Claire student from Northfield, Minnesota.

"We had a report from one of the police officers that were there first that they heard something in the water. They heard splashing and trying to gulp for air," Bensen added.

After a nearly two hour search by boat and by foot, the search was called off due to dangerous water conditions. The fire department confirmed the search would be a recovery, and no longer considered a rescue.

"When someone goes into a cold water situation like this, they eventually lose their cognitive abilities, how to think and react and what's the right actions, and eventually they lose their motor skills, and it becomes difficult for them to swim or move," Bensen explained.

Work continued Saturday, with officers beginning to search near the footbridge and making their way as far west as where I-94 crosses over the Chippewa River. But once again, water conditions made search efforts difficult.

"The high volume of water that's going down the river right now plus the fact that it has extended over its banks into trees and brush really hampers our search. It adds a little bit more risk to it. Those are all areas where our rescuers can be caught or hung up in," said Scott Burkart, Eau Claire Fire Department Deputy Chief.

The search effort was put on hold at 3 p.m. this afternoon. The Eau Claire Fire Department says it will continue to search the same area again beginning Sunday morning. Anyone with additional information regarding Rodgers' whereabouts is urged to call UW-Eau Claire police department at (715) 836-2222.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The search for a man who fell into the Chippewa River Friday night continues. Eau Claire law enforcement resumed the search Saturday at 9am and are still out.

They are searching for a man witnesses say looked to be of college age. Battalion Chief Bryon Bensen says the operation is no longer a rescue, it is a recovery.

 

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The search for a man who went into the Chippewa River Friday night has been called off. The department says the river is moving too fast and it is too cold for the department to continue to search for the man safely. Battalion Chief Bryon Bensen says the operation is no longer a rescue, it is a recovery.

Battalion Chief Bensen says they received reports from witnesses that there was a man on the UWEC footbridge on the railing. When the callers approached him and got closer to him, he fell into the river. The fire department's water rescue team was called out, and a boat was launched around 10:45 p.m.

Bensen says 2 police officers arrived on scene and heard someone in the water splashing around and gasping for breath near where 5th Street intersects with the water. He says that's the last anyone saw or heard of the man.

Bensen says the water temperature is around 40 degrees. "When someone goes into a cold water situation like this, they eventually lose their cognitive abilities, how to think and react and what's the right actions, and eventually they lose their motor skills, and it becomes difficult for them to swim or move," Bensen said.

The river is too dangerous for firefighters to continue searching safely. "We had firefighters in one of our rescue boats, and with the river at the stage that it is, they're having to dodge logs and debris and ice chunks as they were coming down the river," Bensen said. "There's an added element of risk for us as rescuers when the river is at this level."

Bensen says they will have crews out in the morning searching for the man again.

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