Recovery efforts for the 2-year-old who fell into the Mississippi River near Schwiebert Park will continue Wednesday at 7 a.m., according to Rock Island Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey.
Yerkey said after about three hours of searching they had to call off the search because of fatigue and his crew’s safety.
The call came into the Rock Island Fire Department at 7:32 p.m. on Tuesday that a small child might have fallen into the river, Yerkey said. The shift commander then left to get more information from the scene at Schwiebert Park, while other crew members launched the department’s search and rescue boat. Yerkey said they also immediately called in for assistance from the Davenport Fire Department and later from the Rock Island Arsenal.
Once his crew was in the water, Yerkey said they used sonar to try and locate the 2-year-old. A diver then did an initial search of the area in the docks where the child fell in, but was not able to find anything. Yerkey said the diver went back down for a second time — this time for about 45 minutes — and searched a larger area.
However, searching so close to the dock created problems for both the sonar and the diver.
“There’s so much debris in the water, especially underneath the dock,” Yerkey said. “There was so much debris it was kind of making that challenging, as well.”
When the department resumes the search Wednesday morning, crews will be using sonar again. However, Yerkey said they’ll be looking in a much larger area that will spread down to Centennial Bridge.
Yerkey said the incident serves as a reminder to always be careful near the river.
“It’s extremely dangerous. It might look pretty calm on the surface, but even a few feet down the current can take you away,” Yerkey said. “We always recommend that any time you’re near the water to have some kind of floatation device.”
Search teams are scouring the Mississippi River tonight looking for a young boy who fell into the water in Rock Island.
Local 4 News was on the scene at Schwiebert Park just before 7:30 tonight.
The family told us their two year old son fell into the river — and people immediately jumped in to save him.
Two Rock Island fire boats and one Davenport fire boat are helping with rescue efforts.