River search

The Rosebud County Sheriff's Office is searching the Tongue River after a drowning was reported in the Birney area Wednesday.

The Rosebud County Sheriff's Office is searching for the body of a man who apparently drowned Wednesday while swimming with family in the Tongue River south of Birney.

"They were just family out swimming and he just didn't come back up," said Sheriff Allen Fulton.  

The man was in his early 40s and from the area, the sheriff said. Further details were not immediately available. Fulton said he was still working to notify relatives. 

The drowning occurred at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday, and a search of the river including an airplane was stopped at about 8 p.m. due to darkening skies. Searchers returned by about 9 a.m. Thursday morning, and Fulton said divers searched areas that showed potential based on sonar devices, but no body was found.

About 20 people, including local residents and ranchers were involved in the search as of Thursday afternoon. Searchers used multiple boats and canoes to check the river. 

Search dogs have been requested, and the search will resume Friday morning if no recovery is made Thursday, Fulton said. 

"It's just a tricky river," to search, Fulton said, adding that the river bed in the area includes a mixture of deep and shallow spots. 

The law enforcement agency announced the search Thursday in a post to their official Facebook page. 

"Personnel responded from all over the county to assist with the search," according to the Facebook post. "Today, we are back out on the water looking for the young man."

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Night Reporter

General assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette.