One Body Still Unaccounted for in Mississippi River

Posted at: 01/06/2014 10:56 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Rescue crews in Winona ended their search Monday night after spending the day looking for a fourth person believed to have drowned in the Mississippi River over the weekend.

On Sunday, rescue teams pulled an SUV from the icy waters that contained the bodies of Christina Hauser and Matthew Erickson.

On Monday, crews recovered one more victim, but the cold temperatures prevented them from finding the other.

Working from a heated tent out on the ice, rescue personnel did everything they could, using divers and robotic devices equipped with sonar to try and locate two men believed to be trapped beneath the ice.

But with wind chills reaching nearly 50 degrees below zero, there was only so much they could do.

"We have to think of ourselves too,” said Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand. “We can't have someone getting frostbitten and the wind as cold as it is, it's really tough to be out there."

During Monday’s recovery effort, crews were able to retrieve the body of 28-year-old Blake Overland of Stewartville. But authorities say they were unable to locate 29-year-old Andrew Kingsbury of La Crosse, who is presumed dead.

But as difficult as the day was for rescue workers, authorities said their thoughts were with the families of the victims, and vowed to return Tuesday to try and provide them with some answers.

"They're taking it very hard. It's hard for them to believe,” Sheriff Brand said. “But they're happy that there was a closure on three of them, and the fourth one, they're hoping we can locate and make a closure on that also."

Unfortunately this isn't the first time a car has gone into the Mississippi in that area.

Back in March of 1997, four St. Mary's University students were killed when their vehicle went through the ice in roughly the same spot.

Sheriff Brand said rescue workers would be meeting Monday night to figure out a plan on how best to continue the search on Tuesday.