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Strong current making it difficult to recover man presumed drowned in river

Posted at 7:41 AM, May 06, 2020

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Wednesday marks day three of the recovery mission for a 19-year-old Olivet man who police say is believed to have drowned in the Battle Creek river Monday night.

Police tell FOX 17 it happened around 7 p.m. Monday near Hamblin Avenue and Kendall Street where the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers meet.

"The water is swift moving at that particular point and there are a level of wells where if an object were to go under at that certain location, it could be pinned under due to the level of churning at that point where both of those rivers come together," Battle Creek Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant said Tuesday.

According to police, a friend of the dropped her purse in the water and he tried to retrieve it but is believed to have drowned.

Officials searched for the victim by boat and drone Monday night and spent 11 hours Tuesday searching with area agencies to avoid diver fatigue. We're told search crews did locate the man's body Tuesday but it was pulled away with the strong current.

The dive team is back in the water as of Wednesday morning and hopes to bring the family some closure today by making a recovery.

"The plan is today is they’re going to search again right at the area where the two rivers come together and then they’re going to search a little farther down the stream so they’re going to have two operations at the same time," said Steven Hinkley, Calhoun County Sheriff.

"This particular area of the river is the most dangerous area for our divers to dive," Hinkley said. "They have to be very careful as they’re searching that area where it comes together where that hole starts to form. "

Stay with FOX 17 for updates on this developing story.