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Search expands for missing teen, high water could hinder or delay progress

Eau Claire (WQOW) – The fourth day of a river search for a missing Eau Claire teen has concluded and crews are unsure if they’ll be on the water this weekend.

Eau Claire Fire Division Chief Brian Toonen said four boats were out on the water Friday searching for missing Eau Claire teen Panio Hessel.

An eye witness said he jumped into the river on a dare.

Toonen said Friday’s search was the most expansive yet, stretching from Mount Simon Park to Caryville.

The Eau Clarie Sheriff’s Office also deployed a drone to get an aerial view of the river and riverbanks. Toonen says the river is rising and the current is getting stronger. He said the search this weekend will depend on both the weather and river conditions.

If Hessel is not found by Monday, emergency crews will to re-evaluate their plan going forward.

Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley joined the News 18 team in August 2006. He is currently the Executive Producer.

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