Winona County sheriff: River search will continue
DRESBACH — Despite ice starting to form on the Mississippi River as winter sets in, authorities are continuing to sweep the the frigid waters in hopes of recovering the body of a missing angler.
Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said Thursday two air boats were dispatched today from the command center set up near Lock and Dam 7, where 28-year-old Joshua Xiong is believed to have drowned while on a late-night fishing excursion on Nov. 8. His family reported him missing the next day.
It's been 12 days since Xiong was last seen, and the search is considered a recovery process to give the family closure.
Authorities and various volunteers have been searching the area ever since, though the weather has made that increasingly difficult. However, Brand intends to continue the search until the river becomes either frozen over or too dangerous for his crews to navigate.
"We have more ice on the river, but it's still open on the main channel," Brand said. "We'll stop if the river freezes up, but we'll be out there until then."
The search area has expanded south from the dam to the Interstate 90 bridge, and was recently pushed even further south to the railroad bridge.
If the weekend forecast is accurate, a warm front should create an expanded window for authorities to continue the search. Brand said specialists from Hennepin County are expected to arrive Saturday, and a local civilian plans to fly a helicopter as aerial support.