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Efforts to recover missing swimmer to resume Wednesday morning

Posted at 2:05 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 03:35:34-04

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Efforts to recover the body of a missing swimmer in North Tonawanda will resume Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. after being suspended Tuesday night.

Authorities concentrated around Smith Boys Marina and Tonawanda Island Launch Club for several hours Tuesday afternoon and early evening.

By day's end, North Tonawanda's fire chief said the search and rescue mission had become a recovery mission.

"Our big concern is for the family, to give them closure," Chief Joe Sikora said.

According to the chief, two men were swimming upstream near a bridge. Officials say that witnesses reported seeing the men in front of the Tonawanda Island Launch Club and heard calls for help.

One man was able to get out of the water safely. He tried to help the other do the same, but was unable, according to the Coast Guard.

The fire chief is warning the public that no one should be swimming in that area of the Niagara River because of fast currents and several boats.

"This portion of the river is called 'The Little River.' The current is much faster than the rest of the river with the number of boats, the docks, the pilings. It's just an extremely dangerous area and nobody should be swimming down here," Sikora said.

No names are being released at this point. Several area police and fire departments aided in the search, including a Coast Guard helicopter.