Search resumes for man missing after jet ski fall in Allegheny River

SOUTH BUFFALO -- Search efforts continued today for a 40-year-old Penn Hills man who disappeared beneath the Allegheny River when his jet ski capsized a day earlier.

South Buffalo Fire Chief Randy Brozenick said the first team of divers initiated their search at about 10 a.m. today and continued through a steady rain. At least three other dive teams were on scene to assist.

Two cadaver dogs were loaded into two pontoons as the second dive team prepared to enter the water.

The search is expected to last throughout the afternoon, but will be halted if lightning or heavy rainfall persist, Chief Brozenick said.

Teams will reconvene this evening to determine search methodology in coming days.

The man, who was not identified, was operating a jet ski late Sunday afternoon with a young boy on back, Chief Brozenick said that as the pair were circling around a pontoon boat when the jet ski flipped. The boy was pulled to safety aboard the pontoon as the man bobbed in the water, having slipped out of his unfastened lifevest, Chief Bronzenick said.

And then the man was gone, witnesses said.

Rescue units were called to the scene around 4:15 p.m. Sunday, an Armstrong County emergency dispatch supervisor said.

Chief Brozenick said the dive teams are executing "line searches" in the river, although poor underwater visibility continues to hamper efforts, leaving divers barely able to see equipment gauges and their own hands stretched out in front of them. Divers must also navigate the varied grooves of the river bottom, estimated to stretch as deep as 50 feet below the surface.

"I'm hoping we can close out of this operation today," Chief Brozenick said.


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