Buffalo police have a good idea where Lehner got in trouble

Posted at 8:49 AM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 08:49:57-04

Buffalo police have entered day five of the search for police diver Craig Lehner, who went missing Friday, in the Niagara River.

Police are using a grid pattern search.  They plan on moving north along the Niagara River from the foot of Ferry Avenue.

Crews plan on using 3-D mapping boats, brought in from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

Buffalo police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo told 7 Eyewitness News, "This is extremely complicated.  The weather we had two days ago complicated yesterday's search."


As the investigation into what happened to Officer Lehner continues, police say they know exactly where Lehner went into the water.

Divers walked up the break wall, 50 feet north of where the park ends and then went over the rocks to get in, according to Rinaldo.  

Rindaldo said the current in the river takes you to an eddy, near the concession stands, that suck divers in, close to the wall.

We've learned divers were attached to a tether, Friday, while performing a routine training mission in the river.  But something happened about 12:50 p.m. Friday.

Police say Lehner's line detached from a main line Friday afternoon.  The line was 400 feet long.  After retrieving the line, police say the snag was on 75 feet of line attached to the diver.

"We have a good idea of the area where the diver got in trouble," Rinaldo said. 

The issue facing recovery crews is what's in the water and current.

"There's many possibilities including the diver being in the same exact location or he could have been pulled down by the current," Rinaldo said.  


Each tether is connected to a line that is held on shore.  As for a buddy system, or someone being with Lehner, Rinaldo said you cannot stack divers next to each other because of the current.  If they were to have divers next to each other, Rinaldo said divers would get tangled, creating a safety issue.

As divers go into the water, Rinaldo said their lines produce slack going up river.  That was a signal the diver was hung up on something.  All efforts to 'unsnag,' Rinaldo said, were unsuccessful.

Buffalo police have said they will never stop searching the Niagara River for Officer Craig Lehner.  After five days, the extent of future recovery efforts is still unclear.