Jun 26, 2012 10:34 PM by Katie Stukey (Great Falls)
A family day out on the Missouri River in Great Falls took a tragic turn on Tuesday afternoon, as emergency crews were called out to a suspected drowning along Lower River Road just before 1:30 pm.
As of about 3:45 pm, crews rescue crews shifted a rescue mission to a recovery effort.
Officials tells us that a man and his son attempted to swim out to an island in the Missouri River.
Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards says the man became fatigued and tried to turn around.
That's when Frank Steven drove by and saw the man was in trouble; Stevens said that the man appeared very tired and weak as he tried to make it back to shore.
Stevens said, "He couldn't swim any longer, I could tell by the way he was back swimming, he couldn't swim much longer at all and he was about 25 yards from shore. And I thought if I could run around and get over to here I could get to him but by the time I got there he was already gone."
Stevens and other witnesses report that the water was very choppy and wind gusts were very strong at this point.
After nearly two hours of searching, Cascade County Search & Rescue went into recovery mode, combing the river bottom.
The victim is believed to be a man in his 30s; his identity has not yet been released.
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