Searchers continue efforts to find Vermillion man

Searchers continue efforts to find Vermillion man by David Lias It's been two weeks since Ron Christensen of Vermillion was last seen in his boat on the Missouri River.

In that time, searchers � in the air, on the ground and in the water � have remained vigilant, hoping to find his body.

"We're committed to search until the individual is located," said Clay County Chief Deputy Dave Thiesse. "That's our intention."

Christensen, 57, was seen boating on the river April 15, accompanied by two dogs.

"There are people who had contact with him that day � they talked with him from the shore later that afternoon," Thiesse said. "He was out collecting mushrooms."

His capsized boat and one of the dogs have been located. The second dog didn't survive.

"We've been out every day looking," Thiesse said. "We've got boats out, and airplanes and dogs. We're using basically all of the resources we've got."

The aerial searches by plane are being conducted by the Civil Air Patrol.

Codington County officials have provided a search dog trained to find bodies.

"The dog goes out on the boat," Thiesse said. "They're called cadaver dogs, and they're trained for water recoveries and rescues."

The sheriff's department believes Christensen's boat capsized west of the mouth of the Vermillion River.

Search efforts have been concentrated up and down the the Missouri River from that point.

It's a challenging task, because the Missouri offers a variety of variables for the searchers.

"The Coast Guard Auxiliary people have been working with us, and they've got formulas, but there's a lot of different factors that need to be considered during the search," Thiesse said. "Things like the temperature of the water, and how he was clothed."

The Missouri's water is frigid, and so murky that diving is not an option.

"You can't see your hand in front of your face if you're diving," Thiesse said. "There are a lot of factors that make it difficult because we have no exact pinpoint location of where he went into the river."

"But we're searching daily, and there are a lot of volunteers out there searching, also."

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