Fun Farm Bridge at 699 North 2650 East in St. Anthony. | Courtesy Freearenas.com
ST. ANTHONY – We now know the name of the Brigham Young University-Idaho student who jumped off a bridge into the Henrys Fork of the Snake River Thursday afternoon.
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries tells EastIdahoNews.com 22-year-old Matthew Rios from Peru and two of his friends were swimming and jumped off the Fun Farm Bridge at 699 North 2650 East in St. Anthony around 3:30 p.m.
Rios’ friends made it safely to shore, but he got caught in the current and floated downstream. Authorities continue to search for him Saturday.
Several hours into Thursday’s search, Humphries said it’s possible Rios may have gotten caught in an irrigation diversion dam several hundred yards down the river. Authorities believe he may have drowned and it may take a while to find his body.
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Humphries says the water temperature is 10 degrees colder than it was Friday, making it risky for search and rescue to get in the water. Crews are conducting a search on foot Saturday, walking along the river bank. He is planning a SONAR search this afternoon when the weather warms up.
“Divers can only be in the water for five or six minutes when temperatures are this cold,” Humphries says.
With the colder temperatures, he’s hoping that reduces the runoff. They’re currently working with canal companies to modify the flow of the river, which will be very beneficial in the search efforts.
He remains hopeful they can make those two things come together over the weekend so a dive team can begin a search on Monday.
Meanwhile, the safety of those involved in the search effort is one of his primary concerns
“There’s a lot of rebar and snags in the river so we’ve got to be really careful,” he says.
The Fun Farm Bridge is a popular place for bridge jumping, but Humphries says the river is extremely dangerous at this time of year and he discourages anyone from swimming or bridge jumping in this area.
“Sadly, today was a reminder that the rivers are rising and flowing faster and that the water is too cold to be playing in,” Fremont County Emergency Management posted on Facebook Thursday. “Please stay out of the rivers and if you are in a boat always wear a life jacket.”
EastIdahoNews.com will continue to follow the search and provide updated information when it’s available.
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