COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Efforts to find a Columbus man believed to have drown on Tuesday in the Chattahoochee River have been called off for the evening. Crews spent all day Wednesday on the river trying to find the man.
The search was temporarily canceled until Thursday morning to allow Georgia Power to release water from the dam. Officials say drawdowns are necessary for maintenance of the dam, but make recovery efforts difficult and unsafe for divers attempting to find the man. The search for the man began Tuesday afternoon behind the Synovus building downtown, with crews resuming their search Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m.
First responders are focused on the area between the Dillingham Street Bridge and the Oglethorpe Bridge. Wednesday afternoon crews and a helicopter were searched as far south as Rotary Park.
Battalion Chief Brian Watson warned even if the water looks calm, it’s still very dangerous.
“It’s got a terrible undertow. Just respect the water… This water doesn’t discriminate. If you get in this water while it’s flowing… you’ll be in trouble,” Watson said.
Two witnesses said they saw a man enter the water on Tuesday. When they saw the man begin to struggle, one of the witnesses tried to retrieve him, but was unable to pull him from the water.