UPDATE: Recovery efforts underway for man missing in the Chattahoochee River

Recovery efforts underway for man missing in the Chattahoochee River

Phenix City, AL (WTVM) - Columbus Fire and EMS crews responded to an emergency call Monday, starting their search for the missing person from the Alabama side of the Riverwalk. 

The man, officials said, was reportedly last seen on a rock formation under the 13th Street bridge before falling into the Chattahoochee River. 

Fire and EMS officials also said the missing man is likely 23 years old, of Hispanic origin and an active duty soldier, but likely not from the Chattahoochee Valley Area.

First responders told News Leader 9 the river's current posed a constant challenge for the divers.

"Shut the water off on us, gave us an opportunity to try and clear that one area," said Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Bryan Watson. "But," he said, "it's still so swift right there...drivers were really having a hard time staying on course."

Watson confirmed the man was out with a group on the rocks by the river. Columbus Fire officials also said another member of the party tried to grab the man from out of the water, then fell in, but was eventually picked up by another person further downstream.

Spectators, like Stephani Elliot, said they're shocked, and scared for their families after this latest incident on the River. 

"It saddened me. That's what I told my husband," Elliot said. "'Oh. no... There's a family, friend, somewhere waiting.' It's a sad feeling for me."
"I told  upon walking up, that's why we will never get in this water."

Rescue crews said the missing man was reportedly not wearing a life jacket at the time he fell into the river. 

Crews have set up their new sonar technology along the river to detect any movement tonight, and they will resume their search by daylight tomorrow.

This is Columbus Fire Department's fifth rescue in five weeks. 

Last Thursday, 52-year-old Manold Folis-Perez died after going under the water in Lake Oliver. 

On June 27, a fisherman was rescued from the Chattahoochee River after getting stuck on some rocks near the 13th Street bridge. 

On June 16, fire crews pulled out two men trapped on the rocks; one of the two men now faces disorderly conduct charges. 
And on June 8, crews searched the river for Thomas Odom who was swept away while snorkeling. Odom was found dead on June 9.

In all cases, Columbus police said none of these men were wearing life jackets.

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