Search for missing boater intensifies as ice begins to form on the Susquehanna River

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Chunks of ice are already floating down the Susquehanna River, making it tough for rescue workers to navigate. They’re trying to find 17-year old Medard Kowalski who was reported missing by his parents on December 1st. He had disappeared while canoeing to Hoak Island to go hunting. Since then workers have been combing the river and placing markers where they think he may have fallen in. “If it freezes we don’t want to lose any of our markers so we’re going out and marking them with a GPS system and then pulling the buoys out of the river so we can use them again,” said New Cumberland River Rescue Commander Matt Stoner.

However the ice isn't the only issue. Rescue workers had recently been using a pontoon boat, which they had planned to use again on Monday except for one problem. "It got cut loose. The cinder block we had wasn't holding it, but we knew it was on the land and it ended up on the deck of the boat and we know the wind didn't blow that cinder block back onto the boat," said Stoner.

Stoner said the thought that someone would try and hinder the search effort is discouraging, but he's not stopping until the river freezes over completely. They've already had to cut through chunks of ice as much as six inches thick and it's getting worse by the minute, but as long as it's not completely frozen the rescue workers can keep searching. Stoner said divers had volunteered to go in the river this weekend, but with the ice continuing to form he thinks it may not be safe and is also encouraging private boaters to suspend any search efforts.

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