Emergency Crews Search For Missing Coffeyville Man


Monday, May 18th 2009, 3:38 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- A number of emergency crews are helping in the search for a 56-year-old Coffeyville man who fell into the Verdigris River.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office responded to the reported drowning on Saturday at the Verdigris River near county road 3200 and county road 4300.

Sheriff Robert Dierks said his office received a report that Maurice E. Elias, had been fishing on the river with his 11-year-old nephew.

It's reported that the two had caught a fish and Maurice Elias climbed down the river bank to the water's edge to help land the fish.

Sheriff Dierks said after reaching the water's edge, Elias lost his footing and fell into the river, which was at elevated levels due to recent heavy rains.

After falling into the water, Elias was not seen again.

Montgomery County deputies, along with rural fire personnel, responded but were unable to locate Elias.

The Coffeyville Fire Department, Coffeyville and Independence Police Departments, Cherryvale Fire Department, Kansas Highway Patrol, The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Coffeyville Resources provided assistance.

The Corps of Engineers has, at the request of the sheriff's office, shut down outlets to the north in an attempt to lower the level of the river so that rescue or recovery efforts can proceed more safely.

Sheriff Dierks said the Coffeyville Fire Department launched a rescue boat early Sunday morning. However, additional launching will not take place until the water levels fall for safety reasons.

Rescue and recovery boat crews and divers are on standby, Sheriff Dierks said, and will be used as soon as it if safe to do so.

Emergency personnel will continue their search until Elias is located.