BUFFALO, N.Y. — The search for a missing Buffalo Police diver will resume Tuesday morning.
Police say they originally hoped the sunny conditions on Monday would help with the search conditions but they determined that the rain and gusty winds on Sunday churned the river bed to the point where divers could see up to a foot or less in the water. That's why they decided to strictly use boat teams to search the river.
Many different agencies from the US and Canada were again out on the water.
Helicopters also made low passes over the river with the hope that they could pick up some reflection in the water from equipment that diver may have used. And boats from the US Army Corps of Engineers used sophisticated sonar and 3-D mapping devices to help produce a model of the river bed to guide the search.
But even then Rinaldo says there is so much debris it is still extremely difficult to conduct the search in the swift moving water.
There was a brief flurry of activity Monday afternoon when a rope was found in the water near the search area but it was later determined that it was not connected to the diver.
Lt. Rinaldo says it is expected there will still be a large scale search for the next three or four days but they will be assessing the situation each day because of the significant amount of resources deployed.
On Sunday, the Buffalo Police Department acknowledged that the search for Officer Craig Lehner is no longer a search and rescue, carrying with it somber implications.
Lt. Rinaldo said when Lehner is located, the operation will become a recovery.
"The reality is the reality, and unfortunately, the chances of somebody surviving these conditions is all but non-existent at this point,” Rinaldo told reporters Sunday afternoon.
Agencies from Ft. Erie, Canada to New York City continue to help, and they’ll stay in Buffalo until the search comes to a conclusion. The Rochester Police Department has cycled in 11 of its own rescue divers.
"Whenever any other agency asks us for help, it's just natural. We look out for our brothers,” said Rochester’s deputy chief Scott Peters.
For the Rochester Police Department, helping look for a missing diver hits home. The department also lost a police officer in a diving exercise in 1984.
“Ronald Siver died during a training dive, so our officers fully understand what Buffalo Police Department is going through,” Peters said.
The police department vows to keep at it until they find Officer Lehner.
"Our mission focus now is to bring our brother home and bring that closure first and foremost to his family, secondly to the men and women of the Buffalo Police Department,” Lt. Rinaldo said.
Officer Craig Lehner, a member of Buffalo’s K-9 unit and Underwater Recovery Team, went missing Friday afternoon during a training exercise on the Niagara River.
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