Firefighters continue to search Chippewa River for missing teen

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- Crews were back on the water Thursday searching for the missing teen in the Chippewa River.

Brian Toonen, the Eau Claire fire division chief, said firefighters started searching for Panio Hessel at 8 Thursday morning and will continue to search until about 7 p.m.

More: Eye witness tells News 18 fishermen bet Hessel $10 to jump.

Toonen said they have two boats out on the river with three to four people on each boat searching for any sign of him.

He said they’ve expanded their search to include the southern portion of the river from the Xcel Energy dam through the city of Eau Claire into the Caryville area.

Toonen said the search plan for Friday is similar to Thursday’s.

“We’ll have one boat above the dam working using their sonar to look toward the bottom of the river and then the boat that will be working south of the dam will be conducting more of a shoreline search effort,” Toonen said.

Toonen said he’s not sure what the plan is for Saturday just yet, because of the bad weather we’re expecting.

Eau Claire Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck said they’re offering counseling to students and staff as the search continues. Hessel is a student at Eau Claire North High School.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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