Firefighters search Rock River after witness reports person struggling in water

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Xavier Ward
Saturday, July 22, 2017

JANESVILLE--Janesville firefighters searched the Rock River on Saturday evening after a report of a man seen struggling in the water.

Police and firefighters were dispatched at 6:46 p.m. after a person on the Ice Age Trail saw a man fall into the river and struggle to stay above the surface, Janesville police Sgt. Mark Ratzlaff told The Gazette.

The witness said he last saw the man in the middle of the river upstream from the railroad trestle near Traxler Park before he submerged and did not resurface, Ratzlaff said.

The witness declined to speak with The Gazette.

A number of onlookers lined the banks of the river near the Centerway bridge while firefighters in a boat searched the water from the Centerway Dam upstream to the railroad trestle.

Firefighters were posted on Milwaukee Street bridge with binoculars scanning the water.

Another boat was being launched at about 8 p.m. At least one of the boats is equipped with sonar. A scuba diver went into the water at about 8:10 p.m.

Ratzlaff said they believe the person in the river is a white male.

Authorities spoke with the family of the man believed missing near the Centerway bridge at about 8:10 p.m.

Authorities continued searching until around 9:45, when the search was called off for the night, a dispatcher at Rock County Communications Center told The Gazette.

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