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Recovery underway for man who died trying to rescue dog from creek

Topeka WIBW-TV logo Topeka WIBW-TV 5/16/2020 Alyssa Willetts
a man standing next to a river © Provided by Topeka WIBW-TV

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Emergency crews continued their search Saturday to recover the body of a man that died trying to rescue a dog from a creek.

The search for a Shawnee County man swept away by fast moving water began around 10 a.m. Friday.

As darkness fell, emergency crews had to regroup.

Shawnee County Fire District 4 Chief Dirk Christian said, "We suspended search operations at about 7 p.m."

Saturday morning, six agencies returned to assist in what is now a recovery effort.

"At this point its a recovery operation and you hope at this point to bring some closure to a very distraught family," said Christian.

On day two, crews set out to cover a half mile, to a quarter mile of area.

"We've sort of dissected our search area into about four zones," Christian said, "Then I've got two boats on the water with boat crews doing some boat based searches. As long as the weather stays favorable we're looking at putting a drone up and covering a bit more ground."

He said they've also gained new access.

"Because the water went down and receded a little bit more overnight, we were able to make access from the low water crossing over here, to the east side of the bank, and it was a little easier to get a couple boats in the water," Christian said.

A search he describes as difficult, but worth the effort.

Christian said, "You're kind of up against the clock, you want to find closure for a family and its kind of one of those things that you get up in the morning and you say a quick prayer that you can find them today."

Crews will continue the search until 7 p.m. on Saturday, then pull back until Sunday morning.

Christian said if the man's body is not found after Monday, they will suspend the search altogether.

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