Authorities are still searching for a missing 74-year-old Bismarck man.
Around 5:00 p.m. Monday, a woman called 911 to report her husband left home around 9:00 a.m. to check some hunting locations, but he never returned home.
First responders searched that area of the Heart River Monday night until it was too dark to see.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says, “We got the last known location and knew he came out here to check some trails out. At that point we found the duck boat that he uses. It was capsized and it was stuck into an ice jam.”
They had no luck on finding the 74-year-old man, but the search resumed this morning.
Burleigh County’s Swift Water Rescue Team, Mandan Rural Fire, North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Morton County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team were all on site.
Sheriff Kirchmeier says, “We know he’s out here. Just at this point, he can’t be located.”
Kirchmeier said there’s no way to know for certain what caused the boat to capsize.
He adds, “Just the way the water is: it’s fast moving with ice chunks coming through it. There’s about a hundred yard stretch that’s open and I feel the individual was trying to cross the river and for some reason didn’t make it out.”
And there’s very little information to work with.
Burleigh County Dive Rescue Team Commander Gary Schaffer says, “Well the challenges are the unknown, you know, and in this case, there’s not a lot to go off of. There’s a missing gentleman with a capsized boat.
Schaffer says the dive team is looking for “anything that could possibly be that of a body. And you know, you’re looking at different areas in the river where it’ll swell different a little bit too, maybe there’s some bubbling. So it’s a pain-stakingly long operation, but obviously you pray for the best result.”
For now all that is left behind is the boat and the man’s car parked by the riverside.
Sheriff Kirchmeier says the river will likely rise another 18 inches over night, loosening the ice chunks and making the search that much tougher.
The land where the man went missing belongs to his brother-in-law. His family says he’s been taking the same trip to the river for years.