Recovery effort for missing man in Salt Fork Creek continues (Update 8:32 p.m. June 17)
Update:Marshall police officials issued a statement about 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17, providing the status of the search for Cory Gilliland.
"There is no new information in the case," said Assistant Chief Maj. David Roscher. "Search crews will resume the search at about 8 a.m. Friday."
Roscher added that members of the Missouri State Water Patrol searched approximately 10 miles of the banks of the Salt Fork Creek Thursday evening, finding no trace of Gilliland.
Missouri Water Patrol divers are using a specialized sonar device to search the Salt Fork Creek for a man swept away while swimming Wednesday, June 16.
The missing 18-year-old man, Cory Gilliland, of Marshall, was swimming in the Salt Fork Creek at about 3:50 p.m. with another male swimmer when the pair got caught in the current and swept through a culvert.
The second swimmer was caught up in a tree where he was rescued, said Marshall Police Chief Mike Donnell.
The second swimmer is 18-year-old Dwight Lee Johnson, of Marshall.
Search teams went to work at 7 a.m. Thursday, June 17, after suspending the search at fall of darkness Wednesday.
"It was getting dark and a storm was rolling in," Donnell said. "It was getting too dangerous to keep going."
He added that searchers needed specialized equipment that arrived in the morning.
The Water Patrol's sonar device was being relayed by officers to get it to Marshall from the Missouri Bootheel, said Water Patrol Diver Tim Murrell.
The sonar rests in a tripod-like contraption, Murrell said. "It allows for a 360-degree scan of the area. It's like a fish-finder, an $80,000 fish-finder."
Murrell spoke with the family before going down to the staging area.
"I've been doing this for 16 years. It doesn't get any easier," he said. "I can't tell you what you want to hear."
Murrell said searchers were initially searching the area where Johnson was rescued, but cautioned against trying to pre-guess what could have happened in the racing water.
"I've had people go in the water and be found right where they went in," he said. "And I've had one where the person was found 23 miles down stream."
For the search on Thursday the number of searchers is down to 30 people from the initial response of 50 responders. Agencies on scene are the Missouri Highway Patrol, Water Patrol, Saline County Sheriff, Marshall Fire, Marshall Police, and representatives of the Saline County Medical Reserve Corps.
During the initial response yesterday, the Saline County Ambulance District along with Howard and Cooper County Search and Rescue teams were present.
Donnell said Marshall Police had six extra officers on duty working with the search teams, but cautioned against well-meaning volunteers trying to get out on the Creek to assist with the search.
"We are trained to work in teams," he said. "The more people we have down there, the more chance there is of having to stop and search for someone else."
Murrell agreed, saying that the five Water Patrol Divers had specialized training and discouraged hobby divers from trying to enter the water to help.
"You can't see anything. I have to work by feel," Murrell said. "I have a radio that the guys on the surface use to guide me."
Shortly after the initial reports of Gilliland's being swept away, responders searched the banks of the Salt Fork Creek south from the bridge project at Eastwood Street.
Responders also took up overlook positions at bridges as far south as the decommissioned bridge over Salt Fork Creek on Magnolia Street. Boats were put in the water to search along the banks.
Before 6 p.m. word went out over the radio that the rescue had turned into a recovery effort and the spotters at the Magnolia bridge were pulled back to assist with the a search of waters closer to the Eastwood bridge project.
Contact Pat Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rescue turns to recovery for man missing in Salt Fork Creek:
Emergency responders search for person reported swept away in Salt Fork Creek: