SOUTH SIOUX CITY | A report of a man believed to have drowned in the Missouri River is a stark reminder to others to stay out of the river's dark, dangerous waters, officials said Friday.
Anthony J. Campbell, 25, went for a swim at Scenic Park Campground, 801 Riverview Drive, about 4 a.m. Friday and was pulled under, said South Sioux City Police Officer Kevin Boneschans.
Divers from Yankton, S.D., combed the waters just offshore of the campground without success Friday. Four boats, two equipped with side-scanning sonar, searched the waters between the campground and the Argosy Casino riverboat in Sioux City.
Crews suspended search efforts around 5 p.m. Friday. South Sioux City Assistant Fire Chief Clint Nelson said they plan to regroup at 9 a.m. Saturday and continue the search with sonar, dragging equipment and divers, if need be.
Nelson worried their efforts could be adversely affected by the weather.
“We had to stop Friday afternoon when the thunderstorm moved through,” he said.
Officials say the Missouri River is a dangerous waterway: It has a fast current, is clogged with debris and is so murky rescue divers search the bottom by feel, said Woodbury County Emergency Manager Gary Brown.
"People should go to a public pool, go to a lake, a pond -- any place but the Missouri River," Brown said. "It's just very dangerous."
Even walking along a sandbar or shoreline is risky, he said.
"It's very fine sand, so it takes very little weight to cause that sand to shift at your feet," he said.
A Maskell, Neb., man drowned in the Missouri River on Aug. 5 near Newcastle, Neb. Justin Lineberry, 45, fell into the water while riding a horse on a sandbar, the Dixon County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement at the time. His body was later recovered.
On Oct. 13, Steven Bevelhymer, 55, of Ponca, Neb., fell overboard in the river while fishing near Ponca State Park. His body has not been found.
A couple of weeks later, the body of 56-year-old David Lawrence Deaton was found in the Missouri near Big Bear Park, east of Winnebago, Neb. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said Deaton had died due to accidental drowning.
On Friday, Scenic Park Campground manager Sue Brown called police after hearing a woman's screams. She said the woman tried to save Campbell after he went underwater.
Police said Campbell was not staying at the municipal campground, where word of the tragedy spread.
"It's really sad," said camper Margaret Schelling, of Orange City, Iowa. "It's fortunate the girl got out."
Camper Lila Fiscus, of rural South Sioux City, watched the rescue boats while on a bike ride with her grandson Friday afternoon.
"I think it's tragic," said Fiscus. "The Missouri River has taken a lot of lives."
Boneschans said cadaver dogs were brought in to help Iowa and Nebraska officials, who dragged the river near where Campbell went in. He said the current runs about 10-12 mph through that area.
The Siouxland Dive Rescue team was unable to respond to Friday's rescue efforts because it didn't have enough trained river divers available, said team president Lorraine Groves.
The team does not allow divers into the river without specialized training, she said.
The Marine Emergency Response Team, of Sioux City, and Dakota City Fire Department searched both sides of the river for at least a mile downstream of where Campbell went into the water. Boats with sonar were called in from Yankton, S.D., when the initial search proved unsuccessful.