River search for man suspended in Columbus after several hours

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus fire and EMS has suspended their search efforts for a man who went missing in the Chattahoochee River for several hours.

WRBL caught up with Columbus Fire and EMS and also the Columbus Police Department about the investigation.

“Really believe the undertow got him. It pulled him out there. If you don’t know how to handle yourself it’ll take you under.”

Charles Brunson says he was fishing when he witnessed a man go underwater while snorkeling near the Riverwalk Wednesday afternoon.

Ricky Shores, the Fire Marshal for Columbus Fire and EMS also spoke to News Three.

He says search efforts began for the man around 2:30 P.M.

“First time he come up he said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God’..he went under, then he come the second time screaming , ‘Oh my God, Oh my God help!’…went under, then he come up screaming ‘Help, help help!’..went under, and by that time I was swimming after him.” says Brunson.

Brunson says things really started to get intense.

“And finally I’m out there diving down looking…and somebody throwed me a life preserver and I put my feet on it and dived down trying to see if I can see him .” says Brunson.

Columbus Fire and EMS tells News Three they had to wait a while before diving because the current was too rough.

“They had just blown the whistle for the generator, so the water was coming up too..so it was getting real swift…wasn’t nothing else I could do.” says Brunson.

Columbus Fire AND EMS says Georgia Power worked with the crews during the search efforts-eventually stopping the generator to reduce the flow.

Brunson says he’s very familiar with currents and how to function in them.

He says what he did after making a rescue attempt to keep from getting trapped in the current.

“I stayed flat on the water..had to..if not..it would’ve got me.” says Brunson.

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