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CASPER — Authorities said a Casper man who disappeared while swimming in the North Platte River on Sunday had drowned.

Scott Shafer, 21, was rafting through the white-water park by the Three Crowns Golf Course when he was ejected from his innertube in some rapids, said Jeff Kuhn, Casper Fire-EMS shift commander.

Kuhn said Shafer swam to the northern shore and then jumped back into the water and to retrieve his innertube. He went under the surface about 5 feet from shore. He was not wearing a life vest.

Two friends who were with Shafer waited a few minutes before calling for help around 5:55 p.m. Divers searched until dark for Shafer but didn't find him.

"I just can't stress enough just how dangerous this river is and how important it is to wear a life jacket," Kuhn said. "People need to give the river respect and respect the power of water. Wear a life vest. That's the number one thing that's going to save your life."

Shafer grew up in Worland and recently moved to Casper. He was enrolled at Casper College and worked part time for SkyWest at the Natrona County International Airport.

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"Everybody's in shock," said Connie Silva, Shafer's boss at SkyWest. "We're just waiting to hear details."

Silva said Shafer had recently graduated from pilot training and received his pilot's license.

"He had his whole life ahead of him," Silva said. "He was awesome. He would do anything anybody ever asked him to do. This is horrible, such a tragic thing to have happened."

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