Searchers locate body of man swept away by Ohio River flood waters
With the Ohio River much higher than usual, rescue crews had to be very careful when searching for 67-year-old Stephan Miller.
They say they recovered his body Friday morning, not far from where he fell in.
"Several people actually witnessed him fall in,” said Kent Kruer, Deputy Chief of Harrods Creek Fire Department.
Kruer says the call came in Saturday evening.
"A group of them had been crossing back and forth to go from their home to their vehicles and he just got swept off his feet and once he got knocked off his feet, he got washed away,” said Kruer.
LMPD, Harrods Creek Fire and the US Coast Guard took to the river, searching a vast area.
Officials say Miller's body was found Friday morning by cadaver dogs and divers.
Family members were at the scene on Mayfair Avenue near Prospect but were too upset to be interviewed.
Kruer says the high water levels throughout the week made the search very difficult.
“We're having to search in areas that don't normally have water in them,” said Kruer.
Debris has also been an issue for rescuers.
"When the river floods like this, it picks up anything and everything that's in people's yards - garbage , propane tanks, and even in some cases, cars. The motors can get stuff sucked up in them and damage the motor and there's always a risk of hitting like a fence line or something that could actually puncture some of the tubes on the boat,” Kruer told WDRB.
Until today, conditions were even too dangerous to send divers in.
"In these areas, it's nothing but trees and shrubbery and small bushes that are nothing but a tangled mess right now so you put a diver in those conditions, the water is moving, you can't see anything under the water because it's so dirty, you can't see your hand in front of your face, they could swim into an area and get caught in that area and they can't see to get themselves out,” said Kruer.
Officials say the water was about 15 feet high when Miller fell in. It had receded to about 6 feet when his body was found.
Police say they're handling the case as a death investigation.
Family members say Miller's funeral arrangements are pending.