New Cumberland River Rescue workers said their main concern is the river freezing over, which is intensifying their search for 17-year old Medard Kowalski. On December 1, Kowalski's parents reported their son missing. The man they asked for help is New Cumberland River Rescue Commander Matt Stoner. "I probably see their family as much as my own family. We're out there together," said Stoner.
Kowalski was last seen paddling to Hoak Island where he planned to go deer hunting. After a month searching further down river, rescue workers are now centering around the area he was last seen and have been trying to recreate his movements using the same canoe he was. "Our biggest issue is where did he go down and we don't know that so that's why we have the canoe back out here," said Stoner.
On Thursday night roughly 60 family members and friends gathered at a meeting to trouble shoot other ways to find Kowalski. As a result they've been dropping homemade buoys in the area he may have capsized and will be using grappling hooks to comb the bottom of the river to try and find him.
They're not alone. Members of the community with their own boats have also joined in the search. "We've had as many as 16, 17 at one time, private boats. And then you add our four to five boats at one time plus all the other water rescue companies and fire companies have been out here helping off and on with this search," said Stoner.
New Cumberland River Rescue President Bruce Barclay said, "I think the community support has been outstanding. How the community has come together and helped with donations, with food and just about anything we've needed."
Rescue workers said they plan to continue working throughout the weekend with other volunteers and Kowalski's family. "We know they want closure, we want to bring them closure as soon as possible. Not wait until the river freezes and then we're done," said Stoner.