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Second man in two days goes missing in Merrimack River

  • A New Hampshire Fish and Game officer stands on the old railroad bridge in Boscawen that has a rope swing on it while officials in a Marine Patrol boat come in for the evening after searching for a man who disappeared after jumping off the swing and into the river on Saturday afternoon, July 7, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials began handling the rescue operation, the third on the river in as many days, as a recovery operation. Divers will begin to search the area on Sunday morning. <br/> <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    A New Hampshire Fish and Game officer stands on the old railroad bridge in Boscawen that has a rope swing on it while officials in a Marine Patrol boat come in for the evening after searching for a man who disappeared after jumping off the swing and into the river on Saturday afternoon, July 7, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials began handling the rescue operation, the third on the river in as many days, as a recovery operation. Divers will begin to search the area on Sunday morning.


    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • A Boscawen police officer finishes taping off the path that leads to old railroad bridge where the rope swing hangs over the Merrimack River on Saturday evening, July 6, 2013. A  man went missing in the river after jumping off the rope swing, prompting the third rescue mission in three days on the Merrimack. New Hampshire Fish and Game officers changed the status of the search to recovery by the end of the evening. Divers will begin searching Sunday morning. <br/> <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    A Boscawen police officer finishes taping off the path that leads to old railroad bridge where the rope swing hangs over the Merrimack River on Saturday evening, July 6, 2013. A man went missing in the river after jumping off the rope swing, prompting the third rescue mission in three days on the Merrimack. New Hampshire Fish and Game officers changed the status of the search to recovery by the end of the evening. Divers will begin searching Sunday morning.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • New Hampshire Fish and Game officers go out on a Marine Patrol boat to study the conditions of the Merrimack River and mark where a man was last seen on Saturday afternoon after jumping off a rope swing in Boscawen on July 6, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials called off the rescue operation, the third on the river in three days, and began handling it as a recovery. Divers will search the area on Sunday morning. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    New Hampshire Fish and Game officers go out on a Marine Patrol boat to study the conditions of the Merrimack River and mark where a man was last seen on Saturday afternoon after jumping off a rope swing in Boscawen on July 6, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials called off the rescue operation, the third on the river in three days, and began handling it as a recovery. Divers will search the area on Sunday morning.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • A New Hampshire Fish and Game officer stands on the old railroad bridge in Boscawen that has a rope swing on it while officials in a Marine Patrol boat come in for the evening after searching for a man who disappeared after jumping off the swing and into the river on Saturday afternoon, July 7, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials began handling the rescue operation, the third on the river in as many days, as a recovery operation. Divers will begin to search the area on Sunday morning. <br/> <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • A Boscawen police officer finishes taping off the path that leads to old railroad bridge where the rope swing hangs over the Merrimack River on Saturday evening, July 6, 2013. A  man went missing in the river after jumping off the rope swing, prompting the third rescue mission in three days on the Merrimack. New Hampshire Fish and Game officers changed the status of the search to recovery by the end of the evening. Divers will begin searching Sunday morning. <br/> <br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • New Hampshire Fish and Game officers go out on a Marine Patrol boat to study the conditions of the Merrimack River and mark where a man was last seen on Saturday afternoon after jumping off a rope swing in Boscawen on July 6, 2013. By the end of the evening, officials called off the rescue operation, the third on the river in three days, and began handling it as a recovery. Divers will search the area on Sunday morning. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

A man in his 20s went missing in the Merrimack River yesterday about 4:30 p.m. and has likely drowned, New Hampshire Fish and Game officials said.

The young man and his friends were playing on a rope swing under the Hannah Dustin bridge in Boscawen. He was out toward the middle of the river, which is nearly 30 feet deep, when he went under the water and did not resurface, Boscawen police Chief Kevin Wyman said. After searching the river for nearly three hours, Fish and Game officials said the man likely did not survive. Divers will restart the search about 8 a.m. today.

“(He’s) been in the water long enough it’s no longer a rescue situation; it’s a recovery situation,” said Sgt. Scott Lacrosse of Fish and Game.

The Penacook Rescue Squad, New Hampshire Marine Patrol and Concord Fire Department also assisted with the search, which came a day after a 59-year-old man drowned nearby in the river. Concord fire officials confirmed the man’s identity yesterday as Gary LaCroix. It was the third search mission in three days. On Thursday, a young girl and her father were rescued after being swept up in the current near the Sewalls Falls Bridge.

Sgt. Dave Ouellette of the Marine Patrol cautioned going out in the river without safety equipment, as the recent heavy rainfall has made it deeper and quicker.

“You need to be on top of your game, and you need to have your safety equipment,” he said.

The young man and his friends had been playing on the side of the bridge off the Park and Ride by the King Street traffic circle. A group of police officers was stationed there, while the rescue boats launched from the Penacook side of the river off Merrimack Street. About 7:30 p.m. officials decided to call the search off until 8 a.m. today.

Shortly after the search was called off, the Fish and Game dive master went out in a boat to assess the conditions for today’s rescue. During Friday’s search for LaCroix, the water was so cloudy that divers could only see about a foot in front of themselves, Sgt. Jim Kneeland said. He will go out with four divers today and bring two more divers as backup. They will try to slow the flow of water by blocking off nearby dams, he said. The Marine Patrol officers will also use a side scan sonar to search the water.

“It’s flowing pretty good out there, so it’s not going to be an easy dive,” Kneeland said.

Friends and family members of the young man at the scene yesterday declined to comment.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

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