Friends continue search for Ramsey man missing in river

RAMSEY, Minn. - Friends of a man missing after a bizarre incident in the Mississippi River were out searching for him Saturday.

Friends identified the man as 39-year-old Travis Benjamin, of Ramsey.

Ramsey police found an SUV in the middle of the Mississippi River early Friday morning. The Anoka County Dive Team was able to rescue a man inside the SUV, but a man standing on top of the SUV, a man friends say was Benjamin, fell into the river and hasn't been seen since.

While there was an extensive search with sonar by the Anoka County Dive Team all day on Friday, there was no official search on Saturday. That frustrated Benjamin's friends, who wanted to know why, as they searched the shoreline on their own. They say they were looking for footprints coming from the water.

"I'm here to basically support him, look for him, along with many other friends," said a choked up Josh Davis.

The friends said Benjamin was a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate and a veteran, currently working at the VA at Fort Snelling.

As they searched through the woods on Saturday, they were grateful they got some help.

"(We) had neighbors and neighborhood support so I'd like to thank them," Davis said. "The biggest disappointment that we've seen so far is that there's no one, no authorities out here to help us coordinate the search or things like that, no one on the dive teams, no one out there looking for him and it just happened in the last 24 hours."

"It would be nice if we had some more support. We're a bunch of amateurs not knowing what we're doing and even if it was just coordination to help us that would be great," added Davis.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office issued a statement that said they suspended the search because river currents were too dangerous for divers. They said they will be back with sonar equipment on Sunday, searching a much larger area of the river.

Authorities have found no evidence he survived, but Benjamin's friends refuse to give up hope.

As for the other man who was rescued from the SUV, Benjamin's friends said he's doing OK.


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