Numerous witnesses reported seeing a man desperately trying to get out of a small SUV that plunged into the Payette River from Idaho 55 north of Smiths Ferry Saturday evening.
No one reported seeing the man get out of the vehicle before it submerged near the Rainbow Bridge, Valley County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Speer said Monday morning. And no one has reported someone missing who could have been in that vehicle, he said.
“Without a doubt there was one (person in the SUV,” Speer said, “but nobody can say for sure if there was more than one.”
The Cascade Dam was closed at 6 a.m. Monday and will remain closed through noon to lower the river levels and make it easier to spot the car and the man, Speer said. Searching of that stretch of river will resume at noon, he said. On Sunday, he said, search efforts were limited to what could be seen from the river banks. Neither the vehicle or a body were seen, he said.
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The crash was reported about 5:30 p.m. Saturday when a SUV driving down a straight section of Highway 55 reportedly failed to negotiate a curve and instead went straight, heading downhill and hitting a rock before plunging into the water, KIVI-TV, Channel 6, reported Sunday.
Local rafters assisted emergency responders trying to locate the submerged vehicle Saturday evening.
Speer said investigators hope someone will come forward with an idea of who was driving that vehicle. He declined to giver any further description of the vehicle or the man from witness reports. The crash happed about 1 mile north of Smiths Ferry near the Rainbow Bridge, he said.
Anyone with information about the vehicle and the person or persons inside is asked to call the Valley County Sheriff’s Office, 208-382-7150.