Authorities search river for submerged car

MINNEAPOLIS - Turbulent waters are hampering the search for a car that drove into the Mississippi River on Sunday morning.

The weather and heavy current have delayed efforts to determine if anyone is inside of the vehicle, officials said.

A jogger called 911 just before 9 a.m. after seeing a car drive into the river near the 10th Avenue Bridge near the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

A Minneapolis police officer arrived at the scene and saw the silver or gray colored car floating downstream. It submerged in an area known as the Bohemian Flats and authorities have dropped a buoy in the area in which they believe the car sunk.

"After evaluating the scene with the fast-moving current, we decided not to put divers into the water," said Major Darrell Huggett, of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. "It's extremely dangerous right now."

Heavy rains wreaked havoc on the sonar technology. The current is about four to five times what it is in the summer. Officials said they are searching in water that is 8 to 12 feet deep.

"The weather has been extremely challenging for us out here," Huggett said. "The deputies are wet, they're cold, but they'll continue to work this scene until we can get some closure."

Huggett said that it's not uncommon for thieves to dump stolen cars in the Mississippi River, but that doesn't impact how they conduct their search.

"Until we know, we have to treat it as if there were someone inside of the vehicle," Huggett said.

The Hennepin County Water Patrol and emergency responders from other agencies are on the scene on both sides of the river. They are currently using sonar equipment to try and pinpoint the car's location.

When they get a picture, they will send a camera down into the water in hopes of trying to determine if there is anyone inside.

"We're first going to see if we can get a license plate and we will try to see if there is anybody in the car," said Lt. Art Saunders.

The challenge with that is the water very dark and visibility will likely be very poor due to the strong current.

The search efforts were suspended as of about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. They will resume on Sunday morning, officials said.


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