Buffalo, NY – A Buffalo police officer, who is a member of the agency’s dive team, went missing during a training exercise at about 12:50 PM on Friday, according to The Buffalo News .
The search is continuing, although police chaplains have been called to the scene at the foot of Ferry St.
Buffalo Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo told reporters with The Buffalo News that “the recovery team was conducting routine training when the diver went missing at about 12:50 p.m.”
He said “As you see here, we have an extensive search underway looking for our diver. We have outside agencies that have come in to help us, as well as the Coast Guard and Canadian assets.”
One police official, when asked if the operation had become a recovery effort instead of a rescue, said “We don’t know. We are hoping for a miracle. Maybe he popped up on the shore somewhere.”
A police diver from another agency confidentially said that divers train with a tether, and apparently his tether had separated.
He said that when divers do this type of training that they are tethered to a common line. He also said that “divers go underwater with a primary air tank that has between 60 and 90 minutes of air in it, depending on how hard the diver is breathing, and a second “pony” bottle that provides about 10 minutes of air.”
In a press release, the Coast Guard confirmed that crews had ‘discovered’ the diver’s tender cable had parted, and the diver’s secondary dive tanks were later discovered on the surface of the river. It is about 25 feet deep at that location.
Police advised The Buffalo News that a glove of the type worn by members of the dive team had been located off Bird Island.
The city of Buffalo was in the process of bringing in portable search lighting with generators, which would allow teams to work into the night.
Buffalo Police Chaplain Bilal Abdullah said “It’s in God’s hands. We hope for something positive.”
Our thoughts and prayers for all involved in this search.
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